ΑΤΗΕΝS – After the United States – to the ire of Turkey – recognized the Armenian Genocide, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said it’s time for the world also to accept the Turkish slaughter of Pontic Greeks, also a genocide.
The international community has a “manifest obligation” to do so, she said, referring to the systematic extermination of some 353,000 ethnic Greeks living on the shores of the Black Sea by the Ottoman Turks between 1916 and 1923.
Her call came on the 103d anniversary of the mass murder and she said that, “The memory of the hundreds of thousands of innocents slaughtered or displaced from their ancestral hearths remains alive 103 years after that ruthless pogrom,” said Kathimerini.
“The international community has a manifest obligation to safeguard historical knowledge by recognizing this unconscionable crime. Today’s anniversary in particular, coming at a time when authoritarian revisionism poses a direct threat to global stability, serves as a deterrent so that we may never experience such atrocities again,” Sakellaropoulou added.
“We all have a responsibility to respect diversity and be constantly vigilant against discrimination and violence,” she said.
The Pontic genocide was officially recognized by the Greek state on Feb. 24, 1994 and Parliament unanimously voted to establish May 19 as the day of remembrance of the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias tweeted their remembrances.
“We welcome May 19th, paying tribute to Pontian Hellenism in every corner of the world. Strengthening the country’s protection and upgrading its international standing. And transforming into a battle the two words that come with every trial this nation has gone through: I will not forget!” Mitsotakis said.
“We keep the memory of the 353,000 victims alive, honor the enormous contribution of Pontians to the country’s economic, intellectual and social life, as well as to its national struggles,” Dendias tweeted.
Turkey was unhappy and lashed back.
“We categorically reject the delusional statements made by the Greek authorities on the pretext of the anniversary of the unfounded ‘Pontian’ claims, which completely distort history. It is clear that the efforts of those who try to draw enmity from history and mislead the young generations will not serve peace and stability,” Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“It is regrettable to see that the Greek authorities continue their irrational efforts to misrepresent history. We also condemn the efforts of the anti-Turkey lobbies to deceive public by bringing these biased claims to the agenda in third countries,” the ministry added, digging at Sakellaropoulou.
“Instead of relying on falsified historical narratives contradicting reality, it would be more reasonable for Greece to face the facts regarding the crimes against humanity that were established by the Lausanne Peace Treaty, as included in the report of the Allied Powers Investigation Commission, committed by Greece during its occupation and invasion attempt of Anatolia,” Turkey’s ministry said.
Turkey, however, doesn’t recognize that treaty.