Turkey Wednesday strongly condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration of April 24 as a national day marking the so-called Armenian genocide.
“Allegations of a so-called Armenian genocide are political lies lacking any legal basis, contrary to historical facts. They are null and void for Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish presidential spokesman, said in a statement.
“Those who ignore Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call in 2005 to establish a joint historical commission to shed light on historical realities are trying to manipulate historical events,” Kalin added.
Stating that Turkey will never give opportunity to those who try to breed hatred and enmity by distorting history, he said: “No one can accuse Turkey of a crime it did not commit and cannot defame our history.”
He also said that Macron, cornered by political woes and months of protests, is trying to rescue himself by using historical events as political fodder.
“Turkey will continue to support all kinds of well-intentioned efforts to enlighten the events that took place during World War I with an approach of shared pain and fair memory,” Kalin said.
Macron announced in early hours of Wednesday on Twitter that “In the coming weeks, France will make April 24 a day for commemoration of the [so-called] Armenian genocide.”
Turkey’s position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
Turkey has also decried Western hypocrisy in alleging a genocide while ignoring their own dark history, including France’s colonialist record in Algeria.