ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)—Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to deport the roughly 100,000 citizens of the Republic of Armenia who live and work in Turkey, as a response to the European Parliament’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and what Erdogan sees as an increasing tendency, particularly in Europe, to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians during World War I under Ottoman rule as genocide.
Speaking to reporters before his departure to Kazakhstan for an official visit, Erdogan also criticized the European Parliament, which was set to vote to recognize the Armenian Genocide on Wednesday in its plenary session.
Downplaying the importance of the EP’s vote, Erdoğan said that regardless of the outcome, Turkey will not take it seriously and that the European Parliament’s decision will go “in one ear and out the other” for Turkey and that it is not possible for Turkey to accept responsibility for such a crime. Erdogan added that the roughly 100,000 Armenian nationals working in Turkey are not Turkish citizens and that the country can deport them if it wants to. “We can deport them, even if we haven’t yet,” he said.
This is not the first time that Erdogan has threatened deportation for Armenians. He expressed the same idea back in 2010, when he used it as a threat against the Armenian diaspora to persuade them to stop their pursuit of genocide recognition.