ANKARA—Turkey’s newly appointed minister overseeing European affairs said Tuesday that Genocide was committed against Armenians in Turkey during the First World War, reported the Rudaw news agency.
Ali Haydar Konca, a parliamentarian with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was recently appointed as Minister of European Union Affairs in the interim Turkish government. His comments contradict the long-held position of the Turkish government.
“The fact that massacres happened is explicit and clear and everybody accepts that. Right now, the issue is what it should be called. We will make a decision in our party about that,” Konca told the press, becoming the the Turkish official to admit that, in fact, a Genocide had occurred.
While Konca did not use the word Genocide, he did go beyond the usual Turkish government line, which asserts that killings occurred throughout the Ottoman Empire as a result of World War I.
HDP co-chairman Salaheddin Demirtas did recognize the Armenian Genocide in April ahead of the Genocide Centennial.
In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will ignore any decision by the EU parliament about the Armenian Genocide Genocide.
“Whatever decision the European parliament makes today would go in one ear and out from the other because it is not possible for Turkey to accept such a sin or crime,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on April 15.
Konca’s comments immediately drew fire from the Turkish media, which criticized the newly-appointed interim minister for overstepping his boundaries.
Incidentally, Konca had convened a press conference to oppose the media crackdown currently being implemented by Erdogan’s and AKP’s orders.