Turkey: Israeli recognition of Armenia genocide would be harmful

Turkish Foreign Ministry: Israel will only be harming itself if it recognizes the killing of Armenians in the Ottoman era as genocide.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

Turkish flag
Turkish flag
Thinkstock

Turkey on Friday warned Israel against recognizing the Armenian genocide, warning that it would only harm itself if it did so.

"We think that Israel putting the events of 1915 on the same level as the Holocaust is harming itself first and foremost," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told reporters in Ankara, according to AFP.

His comments came two days after the Knesset approved a motion submitted by Meretz chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg to hold a plenary debate on “recognizing the Armenian genocide”.

No date has been fixed for the debate.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead.

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

"The events of 1915 are not a political issue but historical and legal," Aksoy said on Friday, without commenting further.

The vote in the Knesset came amid rising tensions between Turkey and Israel in the wake of the violent riots along the Gaza border.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has upped his anti-Israel rhetoric in recent days following the deaths of Gazans in the riots.

Last week Erdogan accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of having blood on his hands.

"Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions. He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey," Erdogan tweeted.

Netanyahu later fired back, saying, "A man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to hold the occupation of northern Cyprus and invades Syria will not preach to us when we defend ourselves from an attempted infiltration by Hamas.”

"A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last one who can preach to us about combat ethics," Netanyahu added.

Erdogan later insisted that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.

“Reminder to Netanyahu: Hamas is not a terrorist organization and Palestinians are not terrorists. It is a resistance movement that defends the Palestinian homeland against an occupying power. The world stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine against their oppressors,” he tweeted.

Last Friday, Erdogan compared Israel's actions against Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in World War II.

"There is no difference between the atrocity faced by the Jewish people in Europe 75 years ago and the brutality that our Gaza brothers are subjected to," he charged, before adding that the leadership of a people "who were subjected to all kinds of torture in the concentration camps during World War II is attacking the Palestinians with methods similar to the Nazis."

Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.

However, Turkish officials, and particularly Erdogan, have continued to verbally attack and criticized Israel even after the agreement was signed.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)


More Arutz Sheva videos:


top