Greek President Prokopis Pavloppoulos urged Turkey to apologize for the genocide of Pontus Greeks in 20th century. In his speech on the occasion of the Virgin Mary celebrations on August 15th, Pavlopoulos reiterated the Greek claim that Turkey should apologize for the Genocide of Pontus Greeks and noted that this is not for revenge but for justice.
“The Greek nation would continue to fight until the recognition of the genocide of Pontic Greeks and the expression of a sincere apology by Turkey, the descendant of the perpetrators,” Pavlopoulos said.
Greece has been angry at Turkey as the annual celebrations at the Panagia Soumela Monestrey in Northern Turkey has been cancelled due to “renovation works” according to official Turkish side.
“If Turkey apologizes, this will be a big step towards friendship and respect of history,” Pavlopoulos said adding in the friendship and respect of history, said Mr. Pavlopoulos.
“The vindication of the victims of the Pontus Genocide should culminate with a sincere” sorry “. We don’t do that in revenge, we do it becasue we demand justice,” the Greek president added.
Two days later, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement attacking the Greek President over alleged anti-Turkish remarks.
The statement reads:
“The statement of the Greek President Pavlopoulos that “the Greek nation would continue to fight until the recognition of the genocide of Pontic Greeks and the expression of a sincere apology by Turkey, the descendant of the perpetrators” is a demagogy, far from goodwill and responsible statesmanship.
Pavlopoulos’s remarks which distort the temporary closure of the Sumela Monastry in Trabzon due to compulsory renovation contradict the reality as well.
We would like to remind the Greek authorities and circles, who try to keep historically and legally baseless Pontic allegations on the agenda and see no harm to abuse the issue as a political leverage, of their inhumane treatment and assimilation efforts directed at all minorities since the foundation of Greece.
The aforementioned statements which incite hatred based on religion and ethnicity among the fanatic groups in Greece towards Turkey and the Turkish people are contrary to the spirit of friendship and good-neighbourlines and are not conducive to the development of cooperation between the two countries.”
The Pontic Genocide is part of the Greek genocide, an ethnic cleansing by the Ottoman Empire and the Neo-Turks of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. From 1913 to 1922, deaths have been estimated between 450,000 and 750,000 people.
The International Association of Genocide Scholars passed a resolution in 2007 recognising the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire, including the Greeks, as genocide. Some other organisations have also passed resolutions recognising the campaign as a genocide, as have the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Armenia, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.