ADL Statement on Prime Minister Erdogan’s Condolences

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide expressing his condolences, on behalf of the Turkish state, to the grandchildren of the 1.5 million Armenian martyrs murdered during World War I, constituting the first genocide of the 20th century.

Although Turkey’s move was hailed as a positive step from some political quarters, for Armenians around the world, the statement meant a cynical move by the Turkish government compelled by political expedience rather than a genuine desire for reconciliation.

Except for the condolences, which at best have a symbolic value, the prime minister continues to follow the persistent line of denial of the Turkish government, which has frustrated equally Armenians and civic-minded Turks.

An apology and a proper compensation for the victims of the Genocide will not only bring justice to the Armenian people but also will help Turkey to reckon with its dark past and qualify it to join the family of civilized nations.

Other than being a first expression on this wound festering for almost a full century, Mr. Erdogan’s words fall short of anyone’s expectations.

The continued denial, the blockade of Armenia, destruction of monuments in historic Armenia and atrocities against Armenians in Kessab constitute the continuation of the extermination policies of Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Ittihadists, the Kemalists and the Deep State in Turkey.

As human rights activist and scholars in Turkey become aware of the heinous nature of the crime perpetrated against the Armenian people, they demand their leaders to relieve their nation of its bloody burden.

That is the expectation of the “grandchildren” of the Genocide victims who still demand justice.

Mr. Erdogan, your words of condolence will sound hollow unless you stop making a travesty of historic truth.

ADL District Committee of US and Canada