ATHENS(Combined Sources) — The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of Greece considered the statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister’s Spokesperson Tanju Bilgic regarding the Greek and Armenian leadership and their position on the genocides as “unacceptable.”
Spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras responded to Turkey’s angry reaction to the comments made by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras about the Genocides committed by Turkey. “Turkey appears to believe that if history does not agree with its claims, so much the worse for history. But this is too precarious a time for cheap and hypocritical rhetoric. Obviously, the Republic of Turkey must abandon its obsessions and come to terms with its historical record. Greece will be at Turkey’s side in this difficult task.”
On March 15, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry reacted angrily to the statements made by Tsipras, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Sarkisan during the latter’s official visit to Athens, saying they are “obsessive and one-sided.”
In a joint press conference during the Armenian official’s visit, Tsipras spoke of the Armenian and Pontic-Greek genocide, which form part of the two countries’ common past.
Tsipras discussed how thousands of ethnic Greeks who had been living on the southern shores of the Black Sea for centuries were massacred in Turkey during strife that accompanied the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Turkish state. He also brought up how around the same time that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were victims of genocide during World War I under the Ottoman Empire.
Titled “Regarding the Statements of the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Alexis Tsipras, and President Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the Occasion of the Visit of the President of Armenia Mr. Serzh Sarkisian, Referring to Historical Events During the Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and Containing Grave Allegations Against Turkey and the Turkish Identity,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s reaction came in the form of an official answer to a journalist’s question by Spokesperson Bilgic late on March 17.
“Turkey and the Turkish people will never give credit to those bringing to the fore at every opportunity a dictum of history which is unlawful, disconnected with realities, one-sided and obsessive,” it added.
The ministry also said the three officials referred to “historical events during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire” which contained “grave allegations against Turkey and the Turkish identity.”
Ankara rejects the “genocide” charge, countering that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian forces.
“The statements in question are the product of a pathetic mentality proving that the relations and solidarity between Greece and Armenia are built upon a joint hostility and slander language directed against the Turkish identity,” Bilgic said.
“On the eve of the 100th anniversary of our national tragedy, Greece reiterated its pledge adopting the resolution on the fight against racism and xenophobia [Sept. 9, 2014], which also criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide sending an exemplary message to the world. In its turn, the national assembly of Armenia in 2015 unanimously adopted a declaration on the condemnation of the genocides of Greeks and Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire. This is a vivid manifestation of the fact that the spirit of solidarity continues to unite our two nations,” Sarkisian said following his meeting with Tsipras in Athens on March 15, according to a text posted on the official website of the president of Armenia.
Tsipras was meanwhile quoted in media as speaking of “Greeks’ and Armenians’ history of suffering and persecution,” on the same occasion.
Tsipras said that both peoples were “victims of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during World War I.”
They should now strive to make bilateral ties “not only a relationship with the past but also a relationship with a future,” Tsipras was also quoted as saying.