Erdogan Challenges Armenian Diaspora over Genocide Recognition

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the inauguration of a World War I exhibition in Istanbul. March 19, 2015. (Photo: Anatolia Agency)

ANKARA—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged the Armenian diaspora to come up with “documents” to resolve the intractable political issue surrounding the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians 100 years ago.

“O, the Armenian diaspora, our documents are here. Whatever documents you have, bring them,” Erdogan said while inaugurating an exhibition on World War I in the Ottoman Archive Facility in Istanbul on March 19.

The Turkish government to this day refuses to acknowledge that the systematic, state-sponsored murder of 1.5 million Armenians and the exile of Armenians from their historic homelands constitutes a genocide. Instead, the Turkish state claims that it was Armenians who killed Turks and that Armenians were relocated from their homes for their own safety. Writers and public figures in Turkey are arrested regularly for speaking about the Armenian Genocide, which is illegal in Turkey under certain circumstances.

“The Armenian diaspora is trying to instill hatred against Turkey everywhere in the world through campaigns on genocide claims,” Erdogan said, stressing that such efforts had intensified in the centennial anniversary of 1915.

“Like in every era in the history, pains and tragedies were experienced during the years of the great war. Armenians were not the only people affected by them,” Turkey’s president said, employing an often-used denialist talking point.

“The greatest massacres targeting Muslims in the Balkans and in Caucasia happened in the same period. In Anatolia, there were hundreds of thousands of people who were harmed by Armenians, as many as Armenians were harmed,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. A week before that, the European Parliament adopted a similar resolution calling on member states to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Erdogan’s remarks also came a day after more than 40 members of the US House of Representatives introduced a draft resolution at the US Congress, describing the killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide. Parliaments of several countries have already passed resolutions supporting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide over recent years.

“The truth should be sought in archives,” Erdogan insisted, accusing the Armenians of not responding to Turkey’s call to examine the archives and uncover the truth about history.

Armenian leaders have stated in the past that there is no debate over the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, accusing Turkish proposals for a “panel of historians” as being a ploy to create a debate where there is none; a debate which Turkey-backed authorities will be free to derail and stall, giving Turkey another excuse to postpone recognizing the Armenian Genocide.


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  1. State-Of-Emergency said:

    Documents or no documents, the fact of the matter remains that a whole population disappeared from eastern Anatolia within a span of 8 years. I don’t know where Erdogan gets his information from, but when men, women and children suddenly disappear in mass from the ancestral homeland, surely it must have been a catastrophic event. Any sensible human on this planet can not help but feel for the victims of such a disaster, of course, and unless you’re Erdogan.

  2. State-Of-Emergency said:

    Besides, if he really believes it to be an issue of relocation for their own safety. why not invite them back? Erdogan’s posture towards anything Armenian has been hostile from day one. Making fun and ridiculing Armenian and Armenian issues at every chance he gets. If he is really an honest broker, why not do the right thing and start with a few consoling words? Something, anything that will demonstrate his good will. Why doesn’t he rise above petty insults and start work on rectifying the mistakes of the past? The more he demonstrates animosity towards the Armenians the more foolish he looks. Yes, he may be valuable today, but his actions and ill deeds will not go unnoticed once Turkey’s luck runs out on the world stage.

  3. Norin said:

    100 years after the Genocide, with 100 years of ample time to forge, eliminate , and alter their own filthy archival documents regarding their crimes against humanity, this imbecile expects the victims to actually find the truth in the Turkish “archives”. These a-holes are the direct descendants of the young Turks ideology, it would be like the neo nazis offering up archives for those seeking truths about nazi crimes committed during WW 2.

    When is this clown going to get cancer and die already so we can piss in his grave along with Ataturk’s?

  4. Garabet K Moumdjian said:

    Well, Mr. Erdogan, we don’t have to bring in “our” documents…Your laws of deportation and Armenian Abandoned [read Confiscated] properties are the smoking gun to prove intent per the UN Genocide convention… point of article 2 of the convention underlines that even if you take a population and make its life miserable by deporting them outside of their ancestral lands is tantamount to genocide…Beside, if the deportations (starting with the law of may 1915) were temporary, why did the Ottoman government issue a law a month alter (June 1915) to sell Armenian properties…Besides, if the deportation was temporary, why did the Ottoman government come up with a law insisting that Armenians should not constitute more than 5-10 % of population in areas they were deported to…My study about this “smoking Gun” is to appear in a few months and we will see…You wanted historians to deal with the issue and here is one historian who is doing exactly that…now, can you up the ante???

  5. GeorgeMardig said:

    Erdogan thinks people are idiot, …..“The truth should be sought in archives,” …. In Turkish archives? they are already purged.

  6. Vanessa Kachadurian said:

    What documents the documents from missionaries working in Anatolia that were eyewitnesses which is archived in the rockfeller foundation, and Library of congress complete with photos of widows, orphans and bills of lading for items shipped to the 134,000 Armenian orphans by the American Near East Relief. Perhaps if that isn’t ample enough, Ambassador Henry Morganthau the American Ambassador to Constaniople has eye witness accounts in his book and actual documents confiscated from the Young Turk Regime as well as the posted orders of deportation, and confisciation of all properties.
    There is so much documentation from non Armenian eye witnesses we haven’t even touched on the victims that have all been documented not to mention the Vatican papers.
    The truth of the matter is the world has contempt for Turkey because of their behavior toward not just Armenians but all of the lands they conquered to the gates of Vienna. Even their muslim brothers in the middle east that would not be Turkified were slaughtered. Even Turkey’s largest trading partner Israel has a mutual dislike for Republic of Turkey.

  7. Pingback: Vocabulary in context: intractable | Jeff Watts

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