Turkish Foreign Ministry, on Friday, strongly criticized German President Gauck after he labelled the forced relocation of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", despite calls by Turkey not to politicize the tragedy of 1915.
"President Gauck does not have the right to attribute on the Turkish people a crime which they have not committed. It is expected from the authorities who represent social unity and integrity to take the sensitivities of all the members of society into consideration. In this sense, President Gauck has disregarded the opinions of hundreds of thousands of Turkish-German citizens whom he also represents. ", the statement released on the ministry's official website said.
The statement also underlined the fact that Turkish history and identity is an integral part of the Turkish-German society and said the members of the Turkish community will not remain silent against initiatives aimed at defaming their identity.
The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted.
Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.
The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties. Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides, but rejects the definition of "genocide."
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