UPDATE WITH DETAILS OF FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT, EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey Wednesday slammed the U.S. President Donald Trump over his statement on the 1915 events between Turkey and Armenia.
“We reject U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement dated 24 April 2019 with regards to the events of 1915, ” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
“The statement, based on the subjective narrative fictionalized by Armenians, is of no worth, ” the ministry said.
“Distortion of history for domestic political considerations can never be accepted, ” the statement read.
The ministry also called upon Trump to be fair by reminding “the pains of more than 500,000 Muslims slaughtered by Armenian rebels ” during the same period.
The statement reiterated that Ankara still stands behind its proposal to establish a Joint History Commission — a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia, as well as international experts — to shed light on all aspects of the events that took place 104 years ago.
“Radical Armenians, who want to ensure [that] their responsibilities in the events of 1915 are overlooked, do not show the courage to respond positively to this proposal, ” it added.
The ministry remembered Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all other Ottoman communities who lost their lives during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with respect.
On Wednesday, Trump issued an annual commemoration of the 1915 events, again using the Armenian term “Meds Yeghern “, or “Great Crime ” to describe the tragedy.
Previous U.S. 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 the efforts of Armenians and Turks to acknowledge and reckon with their painful history, ” Trump said. “And we stand with the Armenian people in recalling the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern and reaffirm our commitment to a more peaceful world. “
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.