Turkey accused Greece of distorting history as the nation commemorates one of the darkest pages in Hellenic history, the Pontic Genocide at the hands of the Turks.
The Genocide in Pontus cost 353,000 lives while even more lost their homes and generations of wealth in the Pontus (Black Sea) region and were then forced to emigrate to other places to begin their lives all over again.
The international community has a “manifest obligation” to recognize the systematic extermination of Greeks in Pontus said President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
“The memory of the hundreds of thousands of innocents slaughtered or displaced from their ancestral hearths remains alive 103 years after that ruthless pogrom,” she said in a message.
“The international community has a manifest obligation to safeguard historical knowledge by recognizing this unconscionable crime. Today’s anniversary in particular, coming at a time when authoritarian revisionism poses a direct threat to global stability, serves as a deterrent so that we may never experience such atrocities again,” Sakellaropoulou added.
“We mark the 19th of May, honoring Pontian Hellenism in every corner of the earth,” PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement.
“We are strengthening the shield of the homeland and upgrading its international position. And we turn into a struggle the two words that accompany every ordeal of our Nation: We do not forget!” he added.
Υποδεχόμαστε την 19η Μαΐου, τιμώντας τον Ποντιακό Ελληνισμό σε κάθε γωνιά της γης. Ενισχύοντας τη θωράκιση της πατρίδας και αναβαθμίζοντας τη διεθνή της θέση. Και μετατρέπουμε σε αγώνα τις δύο λέξεις που συνοδεύουν κάθε δοκιμασία του Έθνους μας: Δεν ξεχνώ! pic.twitter.com/r9GYuIoo3G
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) May 19, 2022
“Today is a day of remembrance of the Genocide against Pontian Hellenism,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in a Twitter post.
“We keep alive the memory of the 353,000 victims, we honor the great contribution of the Pontians to the economic, spiritual and social life of the country, as well as to the national struggles,” he emphasized.
The Pontic genocide was officially recognized by the Greek state on February 24, 1994, and Parliament unanimously voted to establish May 19th as the day of remembrance of the genocide.
Turkey claims Greece twists facts of “so-called” Pontic Genocide
The Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly rejected the “unfounded Pontic claims,” saying that Greece aims to twist historical facts.
“We categorically reject the delusional statements made by the Greek authorities on the pretext of the anniversary of the unfounded ‘Pontian’ claims, which completely distort history,” it was said.
Noting that Greek officials continuously try to distort historical facts, the ministry said Turkey condemns all attempts to deceive communities by spreading such false propaganda to third parties.
The ministry also warned that attempts to create hostility based on the past only mislead the young generations and do not benefit efforts to establish peace and stability.
“Instead of relying on falsified historical narratives contradicting reality, it would be more reasonable for Greece to face the facts regarding the crimes against humanity that were established by the Lausanne Peace Treaty, as included in the report of the Allied Powers Investigation Commission, committed by Greece during its occupation and invasion attempt of Anatolia,” the ministry said.
It continued by saying that it would be appropriate for Greek officials to remember the brutal crimes and atrocities perpetrated against other religious or ethnic groups, particularly the Turks, including the 1821 Tripolitsa massacre.