Turkey’s Erdoğan calls Macron “political novice” over Armenia issue

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday called his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron a “political novice” over the announcement earlier this month that France would hold a national day to commemorate “the Armenian genocide.’’

“I say to Macron -- you are still a political novice, first learn the history of your country,” Erdoğan said during an interview with pro-government A-Haber TV. “There is no genocide in our history. Be careful in your use of the term ‘Armenian genocide.’ Firstly, learn of the history of this issue. While not being subjected to a genocide in our country, there are currently around 100,000 Armenians who are citizens and non-citizens in our country.’’ 

Macron announced on Feb.9  that France, home to a sizable Armenian community, would hold a national day in commemoration of the Armenian genocide on April 24, marking the 1915 rounding up of thousands of Armenian intellectuals suspected of harbouring nationalist sentiment and being hostile to Ottoman rule. 

France was one of the first major European nations to recognise the mass killings as “genocide” with more than 20 other countries following suit.

Turkey has never officially acknowledged that events leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915 constitute a genocide, though many other countries do. 

Ankara accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.

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