Erdogan’s decision to meet with them came amid growing criticism in Turkey over his latest remarks on the possibility of deporting illegal Armenian workers in the country if necessary. On March 16 Erdogan threatened to deport more than 100,000 Armenian migrant workers from Turkey.
The threat, harshly criticized by Armenians and Turks alike, came in response to the approval of genocide recognition resolutions in the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Swedish parliament.
“We have never had any problems with our Armenian citizens,” Erdoğan later said. He complained that he was misquoted in the media, which he said misrepresented his remarks to mean that they were targeting Turkey’s Armenian community.