Altun warns of attempts to sow conflict between the Turkish and Armenian communities
Photo by CodeCarvings Piczard

Fakhruddin Altun, head of the Turkish Presidency’s Communication Department, said that his country is currently facing a narrative that seeks to fuel a conflict between the Turkish and Armenian communities who have lived together for centuries in an atmosphere of peace.

This came in a speech delivered by Altun, Tuesday, during the “International Conference on the Events of 1915”, to discuss the historical background and the legal dimension of the events of that year, and their implications for the present, which was organized by the Turkish Presidency Communication Department, in a virtual medium.

The Department of Communication stated in a statement that the conference is being held on the basis of a concept that affirms the necessity of discussing the events occurring during the First World War, in a fair manner based on a scientific approach and on the grounds of international law and history.

In his speech, Altun expressed his hope that the conference would contribute to uncovering historical facts related to the events of 1915, which witnessed the suffering of all peoples of the Ottoman Empire.

He pointed out that the societies of the Ottoman Empire had lived and fought together for centuries against various threats and enemies.

He touched on what the southeastern Anatolia region witnessed, of the Armenian militias attacking the Ottoman armies and their interests in the region, which prompted the Ottomans to deport these militias to the Syrian territories, describing this step as “security measures.”

He stated that his country is facing, at the present time, “a narrative that seeks to falsify the past of the Turkish and Armenian societies who have lived together for centuries in an atmosphere of peace,” stressing that Turkey does not accept this narrative.

The head of the communication department stressed that the Armenian genocide allegations have nothing to do with the facts, and are merely “sedition fed by political calculations.”

He added that those who attack Turkey with exploitable lies do not care about the interests of Armenians during the time of the Ottoman Empire.

The Turkish official explained that the continuing controversy over the events of 1915, despite the passage of 100 years, is due to the treatment of the matter from an ideological and political perspective.

He referred to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s previous call to review archival documents to uncover the truth about the events of 1915, stressing that this call is an indication of Ankara’s sincerity in revealing the facts.

Armenia and the Armenian lobbies around the world in general demand that Turkey recognizes what happened during the deportation in 1915 as “ethnic genocide“, and thus pay compensation.

According to the 1948 Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly regarding the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, the term “genocide” (ethnic) means the complete or partial destruction of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

Turkey stresses that it is not possible to describe the “genocide” of the events of 1915, but rather describes it as a “tragedy” for both parties, and calls for the file to be dealt with away from political conflicts, and to resolve the issue through the perspective of “fair memory”, which means, in short, abandoning a single view of history. Each side understands what the other has experienced, and respects each other’s past memories.

Turkey also proposes to conduct research on the events of 1915 in the archives of other countries, in addition to the Turkish and Armenian archives, and to establish a joint historical committee that includes Turkish and Armenian historians, and international experts.

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