The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday accused Greece and Armenia of demonstrating their “joint hostility” towards Turkey during Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s official visit to Athens earlier this week.
The ministry spokesman, Tanju Bilgic, condemned references to the World War One-era mass killings of Armenians and Greeks in Ottoman Turkey which were made by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during their separate meetings with Sarkisian.
At a joint news conference with Sarkisian, Tsipras spoke of Greeks’ and Armenians’ “history of suffering and persecution,” saying that both peoples were victims of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. Pavlopoulos, for his part, reportedly stated that “at the beginning of the 20th century the two peoples endured tragic moments for the same reason.”
“The statements in question are the product of a pathetic mentality proving that the relations and solidarity between Greece and Armenia is built upon a joint hostility and slander language directed against the Turkish identity,” charged the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman.
“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,” he added in a statement.
Official Yerevan rejected the Turkish criticism on Friday. “The centuries-old friendship between the Armenian and Greek peoples is based on their interwoven fate and many manifestations of mutual support,” said Tigran Balayan, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman. “Making denialism the pivot of state policy does not rid Turkey of the responsibility to face its own history.”
Greece officially recognized the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide in 1999. In 2014, it also enacted a law making it a crime to publicly deny this and other genocides.
The Armenian parliament, for its part, unanimously passed last year a resolution condemning “the genocide of Greeks and Assyrians perpetrated in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923.”
The International Association of Genocide Scholars similarly concluded in 2007 that “the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontic and Anatolian Greeks.” Successive Turkish governments have vehemently denied this.