Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a “direct dialogue” with Greece on Thursday as a fresh row sparked between the two neighboring countries over the Pontus Greeks Genocide following statements by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
During a meeting with EU ambassadors in Ankara Erdogan and referring to tensions between Greece and Turkey, Erdogan said that he believes differences between the two countries can be solved through “direct and constructive dialogue.”
“I honestly believe that,” he said, reports kathimerini.
While Erdogan was saying this, the Turkish and the Greek foreign ministries were exchanging sharp statements over the statements by Sakellaropoupou on the genocide of the Pontus Greeks committed by the Ottomans in the early 20th century.
Speaking at an event on Wednesday, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said that the “tragic end” of Pontus Greek presence in Anatolia, “with the methodical and systematic genocide with persecutions, massacres, attempts at violent Islamization and unspeakable barbarism, uprooted them from their ancestral homes and brought them to the path of becoming refugees.”
Saying that it regrets the baseless claims, the Turkish foreign ministry stated “false accusations frequently put forward by Greece overshadow the efforts towards establishing a sincere and honest dialogue for the settlement of the problems between the two countries.”
In its response on Thursday, the Greek Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of “distorting the reality.”
“The Turkish side, unfortunately, once again distorts reality and hides not only what happened in the past but also its ongoing policy, which violates international law on a daily basis, creating tensions and poisoning the climate between the two countries,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
“Greece, rejecting Turkish objections in their entirety, points out that the acceptance of historical truth and the reconciliation of nations with their past is a leap of moral overcoming of differences between peoples and a guarantee of their peaceful coexistence for the future,” The ministry in Athens said.