The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned Greece over a statement marking the 103rd anniversary of the Pontic Genocide, saying it rejected the “delusional statements,” which were a complete “distortion of history.”
The written statement from Ankara said it was “regrettable” to see Greek officials continue their “irrational efforts to misrepresent history,” by way of “falsified historical narratives contradicting reality.”
Greece since 1994 has marked May 19 as Pontic Greek Genocide Day.
The Pontic Greeks once inhabited the northeastern part of Turkey along the Pontus Mountain Range where they resided for thousands of years. Speaking a distinctive form of Greek known as Romeyka, thousands of members of this community were killed in a period between 1913 and 1922. Millions were later deported to Greece under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1922 that resulted in massive population exchanges between Greece and the newly formed Turkish republic.
Turkey, for its part, rejects any characterisation of these killings as a genocide.
Ankara in the statement called on Greece to “face the facts regarding the crimes against humanity that were established by the Lausanne Peace Treaty…”
Moreover, Greece should remember the “brutal crimes and atrocities” perpetrated against other religious or ethnic groups, particularly the Turks, including the 1821 Tripolitsa massacre, the statement added.
“We invite Greece to work together for peace, stability and a prosperous future on the basis of cooperation instead of trying to distort the facts,” the foreign ministry said.
NATO allies Turkey and Greece have long been at odds over a string of issues, including the ethnically divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, the status of Aegean islands and the movement of migrants across the Aegean Sea.