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Turkish FM: French, Italian recognition of Armenian genocide will harm ties

April 16, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on 22 March, 2019 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

Ankara is hitting back after the Italian and French governments this week made decisions in recognition of the Armenian genocide.

France should mind its own dark history in Rwanda and Algeria,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a NATO meeting in Antalya on Friday, Anadolu Agency reported.

He was reacting to French President Emmanuel Macron signing a decision declaring April 24 a day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide. The decision was first announced in February.

“France is, first and foremost, the country that knows how to look history in the face,” Macron told members of the Armenian community in Paris at the time. France officially recognizes the genocide when 1.5 million Armenians were killed as part of a 1915 campaign of deportations and killings by the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey vehemently denies that the events constitute genocide and says that mass killings were committed by people on both sides.

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“President Macron’s decision has deeply hurt the Turkish community of more than 700 thousand living in France,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “It is inevitable that this stance of France, which is far from being amicable will negatively affect its relations with Turkey.”

A day earlier, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies passed a motion recognizing the genocide.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move as manipulation of historical fact for domestic political gain.

“Armenian claims being continuously put forward before elections or in the context of anti-Turkish sentiments, clearly reveals the political nature of these claims and their incompatibility with historical facts,” read a statement from the ministry on Wednesday.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the Italian decision as “yet another important input to the efforts of the international community to respect and restore the rights of the Armenian people who suffered the genocide.”April 24 is a public holiday in Armenia – Armenian Genocide Memorial Day.

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