ATHENS – Turkish criticism of Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou for calling the killings of Pontic Greeks more than 100 years ago a genocide were a further attempt to hide the truth of what happened, Greece’s Foreign Ministry said.
“The Turkish side, unfortunately, once again distorts reality and hides not only what happened in the past but also its ongoing policy, which violates international law on a daily basis, creating tensions and poisoning the climate between the two countries,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Greece, rejecting Turkish objections in their entirety, points out that the acceptance of historical truth and the reconciliation of nations with their past is a leap of moral overcoming of differences between peoples and a guarantee of their peaceful coexistence for the future,” it added, said Kathimerini.
She made her remarks while at at event to show the design for the Hall for the Global Pontian Greeks of Sourmena that will be at the 8-billion euro ($9.13 billion) project at the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport.
Sakellaropoulou said that the “tragic end” of Pontic Greek presence in Anatolia, “with the methodical and systematic genocide with persecutions, massacres, attempts at violent Islamization and unspeakable barbarism, uprooted them from their ancestral homes and brought them to the path of becoming refugees,” said Kathimerini.
Turkey denied mass killings of the Greeks as it did with Armenians and has furiously rejected any attempt to categorize it that way although US President Joe Biden’s administration recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denounced Sakellaropoulou for what it said were “baseless claims,” despite voluminous evidence, including photographs, of the mass slaughters from 1914-22 in Anatolia, in what was Greece, now Turkey.
“These allegations do not change the very fact that it was Greece that attempted to invade and occupy Anatolia, and that the Greek army committed barbaric crimes against humanity, especially against innocent civilians in the Western Anatolian region,” the Turkish statement added.
“We would like to remind once again that in the face of these atrocities, which were also recorded in the report of the Allied Powers Inquiry Commission, Greece was obliged to pay a compensation, pursuant to the Article 59 of the Lausanne Peace Treaty,” it added.
The statement didn’t mention that Turkey doesn’t recognize that treaty unless invoking to its advantage nor explain what the massacres were about in repeating denials.