Sarkisian Slams Erdogan’s Absence at Genocide Centennial

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian in an interview with Marc Perelman of France24

PARIS—In an interview with FRANCE 24, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to change this year’s Gallipoli commemoration to coincide with Armenia’s marking of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was a “cynical act.”

On April 24, Armenia is set to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, which saw the deportation and deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I.

“Our intention was to commemorate the centennial together with the Turkish people,” explained Sarkisian, noting that it was the reason his government invited the Turkish leader to attend the commemorations.

Instead, Erdogan chose the same day to invite his Armenian counterpart to the centennial of the Gallipoli campaign, which marked a major World War I victory for the Ottoman forces against Allied troops, mostly from Australian and New Zealand. The date of their landing — known as “Anzac Day” — is marked on April 25 every year.

Turkey has long denied the mass deportation and killings of Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, claiming instead that they were the consequences of inter-ethnic violence inflamed during wartime.

Erdogan’s decision to change the date of the Gallipoli ceremonies to coincide with the Armenian centennial commemoration has drawn a sharp rebuke from Sarkisian.

“Unfortunately, once again we find ourselves facing a negationist approach and I’m sorry to use this expression, but it is a particularly cynical act. The Battle of Gallipoli did not start on April 24 [1915], nor did it end on April 24, it’s self-evident. This is a way of injuring, of wounding the Armenian people and at the same time, it is intended to set obstacles on the path to centennial commemorations [of the Armenian Genocide],” said Sarkisian.

The April 24 ceremonies will be attended by a number of world leaders, including French President François Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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5 Comments

  1. State-Of-Emergency said:

    At the end of the day, it’s cynical for both who will attend and those who decline to attend. Ulterior motives always prevail in any international event. Who will shake who’s hand and who will be in the group photo always ruffles feathers. Russia will attend to send a side message to Turkey while Great Britain will be absent to send a good will signal to Turkey. France’s attendance is a stand towards their opposition for Turkey’s EU membership while Australia and New Zealand will attend the Gallipoli ceremony to further cement their economic interests. Which ever way you cut and dice it, all involved have their own ax to grind at the expense of the centennial ceremony.

  2. Berge Jololian said:

    Be careful what you wish for. Turkey will pull a last minute stunt and send its hostile FM Cavusoglu insincerely as a PR coup – the World will shower Turkey with praise and hijack the actual commemoration. Turkey & the English/British Petroleum will spin the PR to no end, and chide Armenia for major concessions.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      If that happens, for Armenians it changes nothing, if they do not recognize the Genocide officially, it is as if they didn’t attand the commemoration. they can’t cheat Armenian easily anymore, however it will be half recognition.

  3. GeorgeMardig said:

    I wouldn’t call “cynical act.”, I would call it more a childish and unmature act, unfit for a President of a country

  4. Jove said:

    A turkish visit without an apriory recognition and acknowledgement is nothing short of a farcical maneuver. What is the point of Turks coming to the memorial and denying the reality of what transpired a century ago ?.
    Do not worry , no Turk government representative will appear at the commemoration.

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