ANKARA, April 27. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Monday he is upset with the fact that Russian and French Presidents Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande attended a solemn ceremony in Yerevan commemorating the 100th anniversary of mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.
"I am very upset that Putin personally did this. If you make a statement about genocide, than Russia should study its own history, answer for its past, for Crimea. Turkey did not commit genocide. We are opening our archives for studying, and Yerevan should do the same," Erdogan said.
The Turkish president said that "both Russia and France have used the term ‘genocide’ to describe the events of 1915." "We don’t have problems with the Armenian people, the problem is the Armenian leadership, the diaspora," he added.
On April 24, in his speech at the Remembrance ceremony in Yerevan, Putin said: "Russia’s stance was and remains consistent: we have always thought that mass killings of people cannot be justified." Kremlin said that Ankara should regard with understanding the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Yerevan to participate in the Remembrance ceremony.
Before World War I, around 2.5 million Armenians lived in Turkey. In 1915, according to different estimates, from 600,000 to 1.5 million Armenians died as a result of systematic killings and deportations. The Turkish government recognizes the mass killings of Armenians, but refuses to use the word "genocide." Ankara claims that mass murders of Armenians resulted from the civil war, not from targeted policy of extermination.