ANKARA—Turkey has condemned a statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Russian news agency TASS reports.
“Despite our warnings and appeals, Russian President Vladimir Putin evaluated the events of 1915 as genocide,” the statement says. “We do not accept it and condemn it. Such political statements that are a direct violation of law can have no legal effect.”
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry noted that “Russia should better know what genocide is like and what legal aspects it has.”
“We know that once in ten years the [State] Duma [the lower house of Russia’s parliament] has a habit of making political statements which support Armenia’s one-sided interests,” it said. “Duma did not break this tradition and on April 24, 2015 issued a respective statement. We condemn it, too.”
Ankara also said, “Russian president’s participation in the events held in Yerevan on April 24 should be regarded as part of Armenia’s propagandistic campaign.”
“Russia can do one thing – to renounce its unilateral position and to positively enhance implementation of Turkey’s appeals to the Armenians about friendship and peace,” it said.
Earlier in the day, in his speech at the Remembrance ceremony in Yerevan Putin said: “Russia’s stance was and remains consistent: we have always thought that mass killings of people cannot be justified.”
“The Kremlin does not regard Russian President Vladimir Putin’s participation in commemorative events timed to coincide with the centenary of the 1915 genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a reason behind Turkey’s negative reaction,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
When asked by a TASS correspondent about the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement, which condemned the Russian leader’s words, Peskov replied: “We do not think that the president’s participation in the remembrance events may, in some way, be interpreted negatively by Ankara.”
“Armenia is Russia’s very important partner and a participant in the Eurasian Economic Union, a great number of Armenians reside in Russia and, on the whole, relations of the two countries have deep historical roots,” Peskov said.
“It is just natural that the president attended the commemorative events in Yerevan alongside other heads of states and one should get familiarized with President Putin’s speech,” he said.
At the same time, Peskov noted importance of the fact that Turkey is Russia’s strategic partner.
“We believe that prospects for enhancing relations with Ankara are quite broad. We value highly our relationship with Turkey,” the Kremlin spokesman concluded.