Turkey slams Assad regime’s recognition of 1915 events as ‘genocide’

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad answers questions during an interview with al-Manar's journalist Amro Nassef, in Damascus, Syria, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA on August 25, 2015. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was open to the idea of a coalition against Islamic State but indicated there was little chance of it happening with his enemies, casting further doubt on a Russian plan to forge an alliance against the militant group. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTX1POV8

Turkey slammed the Bashar Assad regime-controlled parliament’s recognition of the 1915 events as “genocide” and as “hypocrisy,” as tensions run high amid deadly clashes in northwest Syria.

“This is a picture of hypocrisy on the part of a regime, which has for years committed any kind of massacre on its own people … which has displaced millions and is well-known for its use of chemical weapons,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ankara blasted the genocide claims and blamed Damascus for the “humanitarian tragedy, one of the gravest catastrophes in history, at our border.”

“The groundless allegations leveled by a tyrant regime, which has lost its legitimacy, is a clear indicator of a distorted mindset,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Tensions are running high in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province after the regime killed 13 Turkish soldiers and a civilian contractor in two attacks in the past weeks.

The controversial decision was made just a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the Turkish military will hit all targets deemed a threat to its observation posts in opposition-held Idlib and accused the Assad regime of massacring civilians in Syria.

The regime is criticized for carrying out strikes on residential areas, hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure, which left at least 200,000 civilians dead and displaced millions of Syrians.

Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that Armenians in eastern Anatolia died after some sided with the invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to examine the issue.