Ankara charges France with having a role in massacre of Turks century ago
"The French have a role in arming Armenians and massacring Turks a century ago. We will not forget [French President Emmanuel] Macron's declaring April 24 as a day for commemoration [for the so-called Armenian genocide]," Hami Aksoy -- the foreign ministry spokesman -- said in his speech during a press conference in capital Ankara on Friday.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday blamed France for its role in massacring the Turks a century ago by arming Armenians.
"The French have a role in arming Armenians and massacring Turks a century ago," Hami Aksoy said at a news conference in capital Ankara.
"We will not forget [French President Emmanuel] Macron's declaring April 24 as a day for commemoration [for the so-called Armenian genocide]," Aksoy said.
France held its first national day of commemoration on Wednesday.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
The spokesman said archives of the Armenian side had not been revealed completely, contrary to Armenian claims.
"If Armenians actually show the courage to reveal the archives, the truth will be out. Unfortunately, they continue misleading the world and the young generation," he said.
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces.
Responding to recent remarks by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe against Turkey regarding the events, Aksoy said: "I would like to point out that this attitude, which does not suit the head of an ally country, will not remain unanswered."
- 'THREATENING LANGUAGE'
Regarding U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's remarks about Turkey on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington earlier this month, Aksoy said: "We see that the U.S. administration has restarted the use of threatening language but we've seen it before it does not work."
Pence had said Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 defense systems could potentially pose a risk to NATO.
"Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in the history of the world, or does it want to risk the security of that partnership?" Pence said.
Aksoy said: "It is impossible to accept this expression regarding our country. The U.S. should understand that it will not get any result through impositions."
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile system that Washington said will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and which could trigger congressional sanctions.
"We are part of the F-35 program. We are making payments regularly. Our pilots are being trained there. The delivery of the aircraft have started. We will not take a step back," Aksoy said.
He noted that the U.S. use of F-35s as an "element of threat" does not suit relations with the ally country.
Stating that the contacts with the U.S. continue to resolve the problems between the two countries, the Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson said: "We expect concrete steps from the U.S. in the main subjects regarding our country's security, particularly on PYD, YPG, and FETO [terror groups]."