“We are the victims. There has been no genocide and no action to make this nation feel ashamed.” Without remorse, without regret for the death of 353,000 Pontic Greeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took another step to twist history and dig deep in old scars. Standing at the historic quay of the city of Samsun, where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk launched the massacre of thousands of men, women and children on 19. May 1919, Erdogan denied the committed atrocities and claimed “there is nothing for which Turks should be ashamed of.”
“There has been no genocide, no tyranny, and no action to make this nation feel ashamed, despite the enormous pain and loss experienced by the Ottomans and Turks in the last two centuries,” Erdogan said.
He described the 19. May, a national holiday for Youth and Sports in Turkey, as “the resurrection” of the Turkish nation.
“May 19 is the day when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk arrived in Samsun and effectively initiated our national struggle 100 years ago. May 19 is the day when the national will, the spirit of unity and solidarity and an unwavering faith revived in order to eradicate the occupying forces from our land. May 19 is the day when our nation stood back up. May 19 is the first step taken towards freedom and independence,” Erdogan said in his message addressing the Turkish youth.
“Today, as was the case yesterday, it is you that will protect this country against the circles of treason and evil that target our freedom and independence,” he added.
Meanwhile in Greece, thousands descendants of Pontic Greeks commemorated their killed ancestors with a series of events like letting 100 lanterns bearing names of the victims in the night sky of Thessaloniki.
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