ANKARA (APA)–Family members of Turkish President Abdullah Gul are mounting a law suit against an opposition politician for alleging the president was of Armenian ancestry, a claim lodged largely as an insult to the first Turkish president for his tacit support of a petition campaign apologizing to Armenia’s for what is being called “the Great Catastrophe,” reported the Azeri Press Agency Friday.
"We see that the president supports this campaign. Abdullah Gul should be the president of the entire Turkish nation and not of his ethnic origin. Investigate the ethnic origin of the president’s mother, and you will see," Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Janan Aritman was quoted by the APA as saying on Thursday.
Aritman’s allegations came in response to a statement by the Turkish President Thursday commenting on an online petition initiated by a group of about 200 prominent Turkish intellectuals, academics and newspaper columnists apologizing to the Armenia’s for their suffering during the "Great Catastrophe" of 1915.
Gul, who visited Armenia in September, said “the fact that the issue is discussed freely in academic and public circles is proof of the presence of democratic discussion in Turkey."
Artiman told the APA that she does not “judge” the president for his supposed ethnic origins, adding that her criticism was not meant to “humiliate” the president but rather to “express [her] respect.”
But the president’s brother Majid Gul, who lives in Kayseri, said Friday that Aritman’s claims were “groundless,” and his “relatives living in Ankara will take necessary legal measures on behalf of the Gul and Satoglu families.”
“I criticized the president for not seeing or ignoring the dangers facing Turkey and not taking necessary measures,” she was quoted by the APA as saying. “The new strategy of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora is to make the Turkish people admit the Armenian genocide.”
According to Aritman "the organizers of this petition are traitors.” Her condemnation came days after some 60 former diplomats similarly slammed the campaign as "unfair, wrong and unfavorable to national interests." The diplomats’ denunciations were echoed later in the week by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a number of powerful generals–all arguing that there was nothing to apologize for.