‘Personally sad’: Erdogan slams Putin over Armenian Genocide remarks

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for labeling the 1915 events as Armenian Genocide. “It’s not the first time Russia used the word genocide on this issue. I’m personally sad that Putin took such a step. What is happening in Ukraine and Crimea is evident. They should firstly explain these before calling it genocide,” Erdogan said during a news conference in Ankara, Reuters reports.

On April 24, Russia’s President Putin visited Yerevan to attend ceremonies commemorating the Ottoman-era genocide of Armenians.

In his written statement earlier last week, Putin described the massacres and deportations of more than 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Last week, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement harshly criticizing the Russian president for the move. Official Ankara also separately denounced French President Francois Hollande and U.S. President Barack Obama for their positions expressed on April 24.

Russian President Putin and French President Hollande attended ceremonies in Yerevan marking the centennial of the Genocide that day. Both Russia and France have officially recognized the 1915 Armenian massacres and deportations as genocide.

In his annual statement to the Armenian American community on April 24 U.S. President Barack Obama stopped short of describing the Ottoman-era killings of Armenians as genocide, but, according to some observers, his message was the closest to the acknowledgement yet in his presidential capacity.