Turks are proud of their history because they have not committed any genocide or partaken in colonialism, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, vowing the Turkish government will not stay silent against “some countries trying to lecture Turkey on history,” in reference to France and Italy’s recognition of the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide.
“We are proud of our history because our history has never had any genocides. And no colonialism exists in our history,” Minister Çavuşoğlu addressed an event at Selçuk University in the Central Anatolian province of Konya on April 15.
Turkey will never take history lessons from those who have forgotten the history of their own countries and will not hesitate to give a lesson to those who dare question Turkey’s history, Çavuşoğlu said, indirectly recalling a quarrel he had with a French parliamentarian last week in the southern province of Antalya on the sidelines of a NATO parliamentary meeting.
“France is the last country which can lecture Turkey on genocide and history,” Çavuşoğluhad said, in response to a statement by French deputy Sonia Krimi. “France should mind its own dark history in Rwanda and Algeria,” he added.
Ties between Turkey and France have soured after French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration of April 24 as a day to commemorate what Armenians call the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Italian parliamentarians also have proposed a motion for the recognition of the 1915 incidents as genocide, drawing Ankara’s harsh reaction.
Çavuşoğlu, in his address in Konya, stressed that Turkey is currently facing many threats and challenges in this period, adding: “We should therefore prepare our country for this. We should perfectly learn and tell of our past and history. This will shed light on our future too.”
‘Tolerance best response to radicalism’
In an age where terrorism, radicalization and intolerance are making most of the global challenges, Çavuşoğlu cited the “main pillars of Turkish civilization” as the best remedies to address these problems.
“The terrorist assault in New Zealand has shown once again that intolerance, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia pose a threat on our mutual humane values. Recent rise in racism has become a reflection of xenophobia and Islamophobia. A joint and firm fight in solidarity against all these threats is now a must.”
Çavuşoğlu recalled that he and Vice President Fuat Oktay were the first foreign officials visiting New Zealand in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack against two mosques by an ultra-rightist gunman who killed 50 Muslims. He also said Turkey has summoned an emergency summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
“But a meeting by the OIC is insufficient. We should mobilize the entire world against such threat,” he said, recalling the U.N. General Assembly meeting on April 2 in New York.
Hurriyet Daily News