The Russian media has been highly critical of Turkey in recent months because it is controlled by Armenians, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reportedly claimed on Tuesday.
“They especially try to poison the Russian nation against the Turkish nation but, as you can see, they haven’t been very successful,” he told the state-run TV channel TRT Haber in comments cited by “Hurriyet Daily News.”
Cavusoglu, who headed the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) from 2010-2012, did not name any Armenians, saying only that they hold key positions in leading Russian media organizations.
Ankara’s relations with Moscow sharply deteriorated after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border in November. The Russian media -- and the Kremlin-controlled broadcasters in particular -- has systematically lambasted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government since then.
Russia’s leading TV channels aired last week detailed reports on the passage by the German parliament of a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. They all welcomed the Bundestag vote and criticized Ankara’s furious reaction to it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the Turkish reaction as “inadequate” in a weekend interview with the state-run Rossiya-24 news channel.
Erdogan has been particularly critical of 11 ethnic Turkish members of the Bundestag who voted for the genocide resolution. He has reportedly demanded “blood tests” to see “what kind of Turks they are.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the German lawmakers on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “The lawmakers in Germany's lower house of parliament are freely elected without exception and the accusations and statements which have been made by the Turkish side are incomprehensible,” Merkel told a joint news conference with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev in Berlin.