Turkey 'condemns' Putin comments on Armenia genocide

24th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

Turkey on Friday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for referring to genocide during commemorations of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians during World War I.

The foreign ministry said "we reject and condemn... (Putin's)characterisation of 1915 events as genocide despite all our warnings and calls".

At a ceremony in Armenia, Putin referred to "mass" killings, but also once used the word "genocide" -- which Turkey strongly objects to -- while mentioning that Moscow is party to several international legal initiatives, including a convention against genocide.

"Such political statements which represent a clear violation of law is considered null and void by Turkey," the ministry said.

Ankara also said Russian insistence on the "mistake" would not help peace and prosperity, urging Moscow "to leave its biased attitude and instead encourage Armenia and Armenians to respond positively to Turkey's appeal for friendship and peace."

Turkey says it shares the pain of Armenians over the events but has vehemently rejected use of the term genocide, contending that hundreds of thousands were killed on both sides as Ottoman forces battled the Russian empire for control of Anatolia.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis drew Turkey's wrath after describing the killings as "the first genocide of the 20th century".

Turkey summoned the Vatican's ambassador in Ankara over the remarks and recalled the Turkish envoy to the Holy See.

On Wednesday, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Austria in protest over Austrian lawmakers' condemnation of mass killings as "genocide."

Germany President Joachim Gauck also joined the condemnation of 1915 massacre as "genocide".

More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, have recognised the Armenian genocide.

© 2015 AFP

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