February 6, 2019 / 8:55 AM / 18 days ago

Turkey condemns French declaration of Armenian genocide commemoration day

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech at the Turkish Military Academy in Ankara, Turkey January 24, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey on Wednesday said it strongly condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to declare April 24 as a day for the commemoration of the Armenian genocide, an issue that caused regular friction between Turkey and European Union nations.

“We condemn and reject attempts by Mr Macron, who is facing political problems in his own country, to save the day by turning historic events into political material,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Daren Butler

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