The Turkey government lashed out at the Russian government after they acknowledged the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide.
“Taking into account the mass atrocities and exiles in Caucasus, in the Central Asia and Eastern Europe committed by Russia for a century; collective punishment methods such as Holodomor as well as inhumane practices especially against Turkish and Muslim people in Russia’s own history, we consider that Russia is best-suited to know what exactly ‘genocide’ and its legal dimension are,” stated Turkey’s foreign ministry. “The only thing that Russia can do in this issue is to leave its biased attitude aside and encourage Armenia and the Armenians to respond positively to the calls of Turkey for peace and friendship.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin first described the massacre as genocide on April 23. He also stated the cleansing of the Armenians “has no justification” and assured that Russia will never change its mind about the genocide.
“The international community has a duty to do everything possible to ensure that such atrocities never happen anywhere again,” Putin said. “Future generations of Armenians and other peoples in that region must live in a world of harmony and never have to know the horrors that come from the incitement of religious enmity, aggressive nationalism and xenophobia.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed “Armenian lies” deceived these world leaders.
“The latest countries to speak of genocide are Germany, Russia and France,” he said. “What happened during the two world wars that had been initiated by Germany in the past century is before our eyes. First, they (Germany, Russia and France) must, one by one, clean the stains on their own histories.”
April 24, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Putin joined the leaders of France and Germany along with Pope Francis to commemorate the occasion this Friday. President Barack Obama, despite vowing to call the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians a “genocide” if elected president in 2008, did not use the word this year. He instead used the term “Medz Yeghern,” which is Armenian for “great catastrophe.”
While Turkey refuses to even accept responsibility, the Kurdish leaders acknowledged the genocide and the role in it. Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the Peoples’s Democrat Party, made the announcement and claimed “everybody, including the Kurds” took part in the genocide.
Turkey punishes those in the government who break the rank and recognize the genocide. Etyen Mahçupyan, a senior advisor to the prime minister, said in an interview the massacre was genocide. However, on April 16, a day after the interview, the Turkish government announced Mahçupyan “retired.”