ANKARA—Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s Armenian adviser, Etyen Mahcupyan, who was reported to have called the events of 1915 Genocide, confirmed on Thursday that he “retired” on March 9, the day he turned 65, reported the Today’s Zaman newspaper.
After Mahcupyan’s remarks on the Armenian Genocide, sources at Turkish prime minister’s office told the media of his retirement. Mahçupyan confirmed the news of his retirement earlier on Thursday, saying that he was “automatically” removed from the post on March 9, but that he continues his job on an “honorary” basis.
“I am currently abroad and I continue my work [as a prime ministerial adviser]. The only difference is that I no longer get paid,” he told Hurriyet daily’s website.
But Prime Ministry officials appeared to differ about implications of the retirement. “Mr. Mahcupyan is no longer the chief adviser of our prime minister. His duties have ceased due to his retirement,” a source in Davutoglu’s office was quoted as saying by Reuters. “He was a figure whom our prime minister has consulted with and valued prior to him becoming an adviser, and this relationship will continue. But he no longer holds the official title of chief adviser,” the source said, reported Today’s Zaman.
It was not clear why the announcement of the retirement took a month and why Mahcupyan continued to use his title as prime ministerial adviser after March 9.
Prime Ministry sources quoted by private broadcaster CNN Türk said the retirement was not linked to the “latest developments,” apparently in reference to his recent remarks on the Armenian genocide.
Mahcupyan, appointed to his post by Davutoglu in October 2014, created a stir when he said it was impossible not to accept that Armenians were subject to genocide during the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
“It is impossible not to describe what was done to the Armenians in 1915 as genocide while what happened in Bosnia and Africa is accepted as genocide,” Mahcupyan reportedly told a website, karar.com, earlier this week.
He also defended Pope Francis’ characterization of the 1915 events as “the first genocide of the 20th century,” saying the Vatican has finally dispensed with a “100-year psychological burden.”
Earlier on Thursday, Turkey’s European Union Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır criticized Mahcupyan for his remarks, saying it was unsuitable for a prime minister’s adviser.
“I consider his statement a personal one, made as a Turkish citizen. Of course, this perspective does not become a Turkish citizen either,” Bozkır said in an interview with CNN Türk.