French leader angers Turkey
PARIS—President Emmanuel Macron of France on Tuesday said that his country would observe April 24 as “national day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.”
He made the declaration at the annual gala dinner of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organization in France (CCAF), fulfilling a campaign promise he made while running for president in 2017.
“France is, first and foremost, the country that knows how to look history in the face, and was among the first to denounce the killing of the Armenian people in 1915 as genocide, calling it was, and in 2001 after a long struggle recognized it as law,” Macron told the crowd gathered at the CCAF gala.
France “will in the next weeks make April 24 a national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide,” he added.
Macron and his wife, Brigitte, visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex in Yerevan while they were visiting Armenia during the Francophonie Summit in October.
Official Ankara was quick to express it anger at Macron’s statement, calling it “a political lie.”
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin “strongly condemned” Macron’s statement about the Armenian Genocide, reported the Anadolu news agency.
Kalin also accused Macron of “trying to rescue himself by using historical events as political fodder”.
Macron said he had informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the decision to declare April 24th a National Day of Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide ahead of his announcement.
“We have disagreements over the fight against the Islamic State, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey and on the Genocide,” Macron was quoted as saying by Euronews.
At the CCAF event, Macron paid tribute to the memory of legendary singer Charles Aznavour. In October, the French President led a state funeral for Aznavour, declaring him a national hero.
“Some heroes become French by spilling their blood. This son of Greek and Armenian immigrants, who never went to secondary school, knew instinctively that our most sacred sanctuary was the French language,” and used it like a poet, Macron said at Aznavour’s funeral ceremony. “In France, poets never die,” he added, standing before the coffin draped in the French national flag.
The French president also praised Aznavour’s “loyalty to his roots.” “Armenians of all countries, today I am thinking of you,” he said.
To honor his father’s legacy, Aznavour’s son, Nicolas, Aznavour, presented a duduk to Macron during the CCAF dinner on Tuesday.