Erdogan dubs Macron a ‘political novice’ over Armenia issue

Turkey and Armenia have long been at odds over the treatment of Armenians during World War I. (File photo: AFP)

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

Turkey and Armenia have long been at odds over the treatment of Armenians during World War I.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were killed during the war.

But Turkey -- the Ottoman Empire’s successor state -- denies that the massacres, imprisonment and forced deportation of Armenians from 1915 amounted to a genocide.

“I say to Macron -- you are still a political novice, first learn the history of your country,” Erdogan said during an interview with the A-Haber television channel.

He went on to list all the countries which France had colonized and where, he said, massacres had taken place including Algeria, Indochina and Rwanda.

France was one of the first major European nations to recognize the mass killings as “genocide.” More than 20 other countries have followed suit.

Armenians commemorate the massacres on April 24 -- the day in 1915 when thousands of Armenian intellectuals suspected of harboring nationalist sentiment and being hostile to Ottoman rule were rounded up.

Earlier this month Macron announced that France, which has a substantial Armenian community, would hold a “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide” on the same date.

Last week Turkey hit out at that decision with Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy accusing Macron of trying to win votes from the Armenian community in France.

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Last Update: 12:59 KSA 15:59 - GMT 12:59
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