Bagis Backpedals on Assyrian Genocide ‘Masturbation’ Comment

Egemen Bagis

STOCKHOLM—Turkey EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis has apparently backing off from comments he made to a female Swedish Parliament member comparing the Assyrian Genocide to “masturbation,” reported Today’s Zaman.

Bagis, who is a notorious Genocide denier, was attending an event organized by several Assyrian organizations in the Swedish capital earlier this year, when he turned to Swedish member of parliament Yilmaz Gerimo and said: “What are you Assyrians looking to gain by using the Seyfo question as masturbation and trumpeted it in the media and the Swedish Parliament?”

According to reporter Dikran Ego, who first reported the incident, Bagis himself broke the uncomfortable silence that ensued, by apologizing to Turkish Ambassador to Sweden Zergun Koruturk, saying that perhaps his remarks were inappropriate to say in the presence of a woman—the Swedish parliament member, Gerimo.

Assyrian groups in Sweden were greatly offended by the remark.

On Monday though, Bagış, who is back is Sweden accompanying Turkish President Abdullah Gul, said he had not meant to hurt anyone and was ready to apologize if he had. Although the statement was short of an apology as he insisted that he did not remember making such a reference, it was still seen as a sign of regret, reported Today’s Zaman.

Assyrian Federation of Sweden (SRF) Chairman Kenan Anter said his organization remained upset over Basıs’s remarks.

“Firstly, he did not apologize; he only said that he was ready to apologize if he had offended someone, implying that we, the seven or eight [Assyrian] representatives who did not walk out of that meeting [in January] out of respect for him and the ambassador, are liars. He could have at least not denied having said so,” Anter said, adding that he was finding it hard to understand why anyone would risk undermining the trust at a time when dialogue between Sweden’s sizeable Assyrian community and Turkey is going well.

Another SRF leader Afram Yakoub told Today’s Zaman that he was aware that the minister did not offer a full apology but noted that it would have been unthinkable for a Turkish minister even a few years ago to even offer “something which sounds like an apology” to a Christian minority.


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  1. danoog said:

    Wow, how does a jackass like this gain a position of responsibility in the Turkish government? Just wow!

  2. An Armenian said:

    I am absolutely amazed how a high ranking Turkish official can go to Sweden and be so vulgar and no politician in Sweden says or does anything. Instead they welcome him along with the Turkish president into their country. How can Mr. Bagis go to Austria and deny the Armenian Genocide and walk away with impunity. If this is the kind of Turkish politician that Europe and the Europeans associate with and welcome in their midst, then this says a lot about the Europeans and their so called democratic values and freedom.

  3. Martin said:

    Some corrections: The Assyrian MP is Yilmaz Kerimo and the woman present was the Turkish ambassador.

  4. Rifat said:

    (Another SRF leader Afram Yakoub told Today’s Zaman that he was aware that the minister did not offer a full apology but noted that it would have been unthinkable for a Turkish minister even a few years ago to even offer “something which sounds like an apology” to a Christian minority.)

    The last comment on this article just shows that AKP is too much caving in to subversive elements who want a Turkey with a weaker national defense, a less free economy, and shows how AKP is more of a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity then Genocide Allegationist Greek and Armenian lobby. If you want to have real proof that you guys want justice for your “Genocide”, why didn’t you Greeks or Armenians take Turkey to the international courts in the 1970s when your lame movement started? Or why did you not take us to the international courts even much earlier. It is because the proven facts of how there was unarmed massacres on both sides will come out. Also, that will lead to the international community to pressure Armenia to open it’s archives.

  5. Erectmen Gabig said:

    Egemen knows the issue he is dealing with. He is an expert … not in genocide issue but in masturbation.

  6. Nirari said:

    Who could simply deny the unforgettable massacre? It was not even a generation ago and they’re already denying it, imagine the writings in history books in their public schools that refer to generations ago (I could just imagine that it is all censured).
    The killings of 1.5 million Armenians, 750 thousand Assyrians and 350 thousand Greeks will never be wiped out of the brains of those historians and those suffered no matter how much censure and how much denial comes with it.

  7. John Kassabian said:

    Well no shock here…To many Turks massacre and genocide is just like masturbation. That is why they enjoy Genocide so much, why apologize for something which they enjoy doing.


  8. A visitor said:

    Wow, that was completely rude, and so childish to compare anything to masterbation, its unprofessional.

    This guy needs to be fired, he has put his foot in his mouth too many times already!