BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:35 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued this week his annual denial of atrocities committed against the Armenian people during the start of World War I.
However, the Turkish President took it one step further this year by justifying the deportation of the Armenian people and their subsequent genocide along the road to the Syrian Desert.
Erdogan said, “the relocation of the Armenian gangs and their supporters, who massacred the Muslim people, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia, was the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.” He added that “the doors of our archives are wide open to all seeking the truth.”
The Turkish President’s justification mimics the same response the Young Turks made, which attempts to depict Armenians at the time as violent renegades that betrayed Turkey.
What became known as the “Armenian Genocide” resulted in the death of an estimate 1.5 million people, coupled with the mass diaspora of the remaining Armenians to countries like Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq.
Many of the descendants of those killed during the 1915 Genocide can still be found in the Middle East region, with Syria and Lebanon boasting large communities of Armenians.
In addition to the death of 1.5 million Armenians, the Ottoman Empire carried out the deportation and genocide of an estimated 750,000-1,000,000 Assyrians (Seyfo Genocide) and Greeks.
Turkey maintains no genocide took place, but recognizes that a large number of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks were forcibly displaced in 1915.