Turkey's US envoy slams Trump on 1915 events statement

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Donald Trump's statement on the 1915 events is "void of objectivity," Turkey's ambassador to Washington said Friday.

Serdar Kilic said the US president's statement is "based on a subjective narrative which Armenians try to turn into a dogma."

"This statement, made with domestic political considerations has no validity for us. We reject the claims put forward in this statement," he said in a statement.

"We observe that the suffering of more than 500 thousand Muslims who were massacred by Armenian rebels in the same period was insistently ignored in this statement. This understanding which is deprived of justice and equity needs to be changed from now on," he added.

In a twitter statement accompanying the statement, Kilic added it is "void of objectivity in reflecting 1915 events, and as such is totally unacceptable."

The ambassador's response came after Trump issued an annual commemoration of the 1915 events Friday, again using the Armenian term “Meds Yeghern" to describe the tragedy.

"On this day, we bear witness to the strength and resiliency of the Armenian people in the face of tragedy," he said in a statement. "We are fortunate that so many Armenians have brought their rich culture to our shores and contributed so much to our country, including decorated soldiers, celebrated entertainers, renowned architects, and successful businesspeople." 

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. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as "genocide," describing them 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 as well aw international experts to tackle the issue.

Successive US presidents have refrained from calling the deaths of Armenians "genocide," but former President Barack Obama adopted the Armenian phrase "Meds Yeghern", or "Great Crime", to describe the tragedy, a practice repeated by Trump.

"We welcome efforts by the Armenians and Turks to acknowledge and reckon with their painful history," Trump said. "On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world."