A deputy of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lashed out at the French parliamentarian Sonia Krimi for leaving a meeting over Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's remarks on the events of 1915.
"If Krimi is so eager to look for genocide, it is enough to look at the French massacre in Gaziantep which is the biggest massacre in history," MHP Gaziantep deputy Ali Muhittin Taşdoğan said in a press briefing yesterday.
Pointing out that the French parliamentarian overstepped the limits, Taşdoğan underscored that Krimi has revealed her ignorance and malicious intentions.
Last Friday, Çavuşoğlu criticized the stance of Italy and France attempting to recognize the events of 1915 in Armenia as "genocide," referring to the French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to declare April 24 as a day of commemoration in France for the so-called "Armenian genocide." He said that the allegations are inconsistent with historical facts and France needs to look into its own dark colonist history. Upon Çavuşoğlu's remarks, Krimi left the meeting.
In relation to the French massacre in Gaziantep, Taşdoğan emphasized that Gaziantep experienced French atrocities first hand, in a massacre known as the Dokurcum Mill Massacre. During the French occupation of the city, the children of Gaziantep – who were carrying food for the national forces fighting against the occupying forces – took shelter in the mills. After the French forces killed all the national forces, they marched toward the Dokurcum Mill. French soldiers killed the children in the mills, who were aged 9 to 14, riddling their bodies with bullet holes. Additionally, the French army surrounded the city for 11 months, leaving civilians to die from hunger. As a result of the siege, 6,317 people of Gaziantep lost their lives.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide of Armenians around the events of 1915 but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I. Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.