Existence of Armenian diaspora proves no genocide took place - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that if claims for Armenian Genocide in 1915 were true, there would not be millions of Armenians living around the world today, Sabah daily reported.

Erdoğan’s remarks came following commemorations on  Apr. 24, recognised by various countries as the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

Turkey denies that the systematic massacres and forced deportation of Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916 constituted genocide.

Erdoğan spoke at a two-day consultative meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara’s Kızılcahamam district, organised to discuss future policies following local elections on March 31.

“In relation to these issues, contrary to many other countries, Turkey does not have a history it should be ashamed of,” Erdoğan said.

“If there is a victim of the events that took place a century ago, that victim is our nation,” he said citing civilian deaths during what he called “Russian and Armenian invasions” in east and southeast Turkey.

“Armenians’ deportation was a method used to prevent that great suffering. In other words, it is a Hijrah,” Erdoğan said citing the flight of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622.

“If we had resorted to what the Armenians claim, then we could not talk about millions of Armenians living everywhere around the world,” Erdoğan said.

The Turkish president also targeted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, whom he accused of playing to 700,000 Armenians living in France by recognising April 24 as a national commemoration day of the Armenian genocide.

“First learn to be honest in politics, you cannot win as long as you are not honest, you will lose,” Erdoğan said to Macron.