Hungarian politician condemns European claims of genocide
by Anadolu Agency
ISTANBULApr 25, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Apr 25, 2015 12:00 am
The leader of Hungary's second biggest Jobbik party has condemned Armenian claims by the European leaders over the incidents of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire.
Speaking at the World Turkic Forum in Istanbul on Friday, Gabor Vona told the Anadolu Agency: "I am a politician and a historian. I condemn the European countries' decisions. These decisions [are] aimed at keeping Turkey under pressure."
Vona spoke after the European Parliament, France, Austria, Russia and the Vatican referred the deaths of Armenians during World War I as "genocide."
He said that world leaders should address the Armenian annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh, seized from Azerbaijan in 1988.
Referring to Pope Francis's declaration that the incidents of 1915 were the "first genocide of the 20th century" earlier this month, Vona added: "I am in a difficult situation because I am Catholic and my religious leader is the Pope. However, I think the Pope's statement was very wrong."
He also welcomed Turkey's decision to open its archives from the Ottoman period that relate to the 1915 incidents.
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."