Sarkisian Slams Erdogan’s Invitation to Turkey on April 24

President Serzh Sarkisian

Erdogan Invites World Leaders to Turkey to Commemorate Gallipoli Centennial on April 24

YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday responded to an invitation from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who announced Thursday that he would be inviting world leaders to Turkey on April 24 to mark the centennial of the Battle of Gallipoli, reported the Armenpress news agency.

Erdogan made his intentions known to public during a joint press conference Thursday with Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev who is on an official visit to Turkey.

“On April 24, the day that the Armenian Diaspora has dedicated to commemorate the so-called Armenian Genocide, world leaders will gather in Turkey to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli,” Erdogan said that joint press conference.

In a response made public on Friday by the presidential press service, Sarkisain rejected Erdogan’s invitation, saying that the day coincides with the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, which was committed by the Ottoman Empire.

Below is the text of the letter to Erdogan provided by the presidential press service.

“Dear Mr. President,

I received your invitation to participate in the commemoration ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli. Armenian artilleryman, Captain Sargis Torosyan joined the troops of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Gallipoli and was an officer who was self-dedicated to ensuring the defense and security of the Empire. That same year, the wave of massacres and forceful deportations planned and perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people also led to the death of even Sargis Torosyan. It was as a result of that unprecedented massacre that Rafael Lemkin coined the term “genocide”, and it was the impunity of that crime that prepared ground for the Holocaust and the genocides in Ruanda, Cambodia and Darfur. Leaving aside the significance of the Battle of Gallipoli or Turkey’s disputed role during WWI and WWII, we need to remember that peace and friendship must first be hinged on the courage to confront one&r squo;s own past, historical justice and universal memory. Alas, Turkey continues its conventional denial policy and is “perfecting” its instrumentation for distorting history. This time Turkey is marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 24, but the battle began on March 18, 1915 and lasted until late January 1916, after which the allies’ operation started on April 25. What is the purpose if not to distract the world’s attention from the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide? I would advise you to remember in your calls for world peace to make a call to the world to recognize the Armenian Genocide and commemorate the 1.5 million innocent victims. Each of us has a duty to transmit the real story to the future generations and prevent the repetition of crimes and prepare ground for the rapprochement and future cooperation between peoples, especially neighboring peoples.

P.S. Your Excellency, a couple of months ago, I invited you to Yerevan to respect the memory of the innocent martyrs of the Armenian Genocide together on April 24, 2015. Armenians don’t accept being hosted by the guest without receiving a response to the guest’s invitation.”

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, in marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish government will organize ceremonies with the participation of 8,500 Australians and 2,000 New Zealanders. The U.K.’s Prince Charles and his two sons, and the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand, are expected to take part in commemorations.

A day before the April 24 ceremonies in Çanakkale, the government is planning to host a reception and a “Summit of Peace” in Istanbul on April 23, the day when Turkey marks the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Parliament.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has signed invitation letters to his counterparts, while President Erdogan has sent letters to the heads of state, accompanied by the message, “We would be delighted to have you with us on the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli.”

During Thursday’s press conference, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan, emphasizing that “Ankara will continue to back Azerbaijan on the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” reported the Today’s Zaman newspaper.

“I would like to mention this once again: we will continue to extend our support for Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict so that it finds its solution in the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” Erdoğan said in a joint press conference held with his Azerbaijani counterpart in Ankara on Thursday.

Erdogan also said that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group, tasked with negotiating a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has failed in its mission.

“Turkey is extremely sensitive towards this issue and as Turkey, our position is explicit. It is not possible at all that we will step back from this point [backing Azerbaijan],” Erdogan said stressing the importance of the strategic partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan in both defense and energy realms.

“Azerbaijan will be strong as long as Turkey is powerful,” Aliyev said, extending his gratitude to Ankara’s continuing support in what he called “justice and international law,” referring to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


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  1. Hratch said:

    I’d like to hear Tsar Putin’s response to the invitation. He’s decision will finally clarify his attitude towards Armenia and Armenian interests.

  2. GB said:

    So the Turkic herds leader planning for a feastful celebration on April 24, 2015. I hope all those side players who will attend in his political ceremonial game, will ask this new Turkish Caliphate, “why Battle of Gallipoli celebration day chosen on April 24″

  3. Benon Sevan said:

    Turkey’s decision to invite world leaders to commemorate the Gallipoli Centennial on 24 April is the ultimate insult to injury to all Armenians worldwide who will be commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide planned and perpetrated by the Ottoman empire causing the death of 1.5 million innocent victims. Picking the date of 24 April to commemorate the Gallipoli Centennial is nothing but a deliberate effort to disrupt the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, as part of the continued efforts by the Government of Turkey to deny the Genocide.

    I therefore welcome the response by the President of the Republic of Armenia to the invitation of the President of the Republic of Turkey.

    Benon Sevan
    Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General

  4. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Calm down, gachagh Sarksyan. Go to hell, ghachagh Erdoghan. Don’t be afraid, ghachagh Aliyev.

  5. Paul said:

    If it takes thousand years there is no way other than to pursue the turkish crime of genocide as historical fact !!

  6. Areg said:

    Mr. Serz Sarkissian,

    Dump the Turkish-Armenian protocals in the trash, spit on it and send it back to Hellery Clinton. Then go on Armenian National Television and apologize to the Armenians for your grave mistake of allowing this idiot foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian to be fooled by this ill fated Hellery Clinton and this so called neutral Swiss government in signing this anti Armenian protocal.

    The time has come for you to shake up, get your brain in order and act like a true leader. And then you will have Turkey to accept her crimes of Genocide against Armenians and the rest of the world and then you will start getting respect from the rest of the world leaders and nations as a true national leader.

    Erdogan can go to hell. That is what you need to tell him to start with.

  7. Areg said:

    And this traitor Levon Ter Petrosian who said Armenia does not need an Army can go to hell with Erdogan.

    We need nationalist leaders leading our beloved country Armenia otherwise these bastard Turks with the help and blessing of this confused and misguided Western leaders will have a free ride on us all.

    America wake up and stop supporting this Genocidal Turkey. Your support of Pan Turkism and Pan Turkism and Pan Turanism will lead to the destruction of this world.

  8. GeorgeMardig said:

    Unfortunately Erdogan is not the President that Turkey needs to confront it’s past and make right what was done wrong, Turkey needs a brave and honest leader to go forward into the future.

  9. Josef said:

    Shameless nation living on stolen lands
    And still not only denying Genocide but still killing Kurds
    And insulting Jewish leaders on a international level .

  10. o_O said:

    Shameful, but expected.
    +1 for president Sarkisyan.

    The NKR “problem” was solved in 1994, with its liberation and de facto sovereignty. I have to wonder if, as per Mr. Erdogan, NKR is occupied territory, what does that make Western Armenia, (parts of) Cilicia, Greek Pontius, and Corduene?

  11. Baron's said:

    Underhanded, Turkish vile approach…as usual …what else is new?
    Once a Barbaric people always a Barbaric Nation…

  12. eastofwest said:

    Turks never celebrated Gallipolli on April 24. This is the first time. To use Davutoglu’s words: an open provocation.

  13. Khatch said:

    President Sarkisian should invite all world leaders to Armenia on April 24th so they cut their Gallipoli visit short and go to Armenia for Genocide Centennial commemoration.

    • Aline said:

      That would be good for Armenia, however, Turkey is more powerful and does play a larger role in the world with allies and connections with powerful countries so I doubt the leaders would decline Turkey to go and visit Armenia for a commemoration that is commemorating a genocide the Turks are trying so hard to make everyone forget.

  14. Ari said:

    If President Obama wishes to leave a legacy behind as the leader of the Free World and defender of Human Rights, he should attend the Armenian commemorations this April and officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. In addition, the US and the West should demand the return of Western Armenia to Armenians, all stolen properties and payment of reparations to survivors of Western Armenia.

    Turkey is hiding behind its NATO cover with a prime nationalistic agenda of re-establishing the Ottoman Empire again. How long will the West turn a blind eye to this obvious fact?

  15. Masis said:

    I commend President Sarkisian’s courageous response. How can we have adopted the “Protocols” with these slimy people? We should send him 5 bottles of Vodka and a large lamb meal for Ramadan.

  16. Armenian said:

    I’m not impressed by his selective demonstrations of back-bone. It’d be something else if he showed that spine to Putin, too, but he’s clearly too much of an agent and a coward.

  17. Aline said:

    Who knew our president had such sass in him? It is a good thing Mr. Sarkisyan knew well enough not to be courteous and professional in response to Erdogan. In a more teasing fashion, the true amount of annoyance can be portrayed and it shows Armenia is not exactly at professional terms with the sick country of Turkey.

    • Cristina said:

      I think it Is courteous and professional. That’s what politicians’ job is, to be good actors. Otherwise, he would have just said “go f*** yourself” to Erdoghan, don’t you think?

  18. Arto said:

    This is tit for tat. Nalbandian giving Erdogan an invitation to the Armenian Genocide events in Armenia during his inauguration was a cheap trick and the Turks responded in kind.