On April 26, 2021, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech following a cabinet meeting, a large part of which was a response to U.S. President Joe Biden's April 24 statement recognizing the "Ottoman-era Armenian genocide." President Erdoğan gave a long historical explanation of the events in question and, after saying that "now Turkey-U.S. relations have fallen far below" the level to which they had lowered amid other disagreements, said: "We will continue our march, especially locked on to our own goals, no matter what the conditions may be. We have grown tired of the insistent desire that we step backward on subjects on which it is known very well that we are correct. Those who think they can turn us away from these goals in this way should know that they are mistaken." The speech was broadcast by Anadolu Agency on April 26, 2021.
To view the clip of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"It Is Estimated That A Million [Civilian] Turks And Kurds... Were Slaughtered By Armenian Gangs," Who "Bragged About The Massacres They Carried Out And The Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Whom They Forced Into Migration"
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "Armenian gangs, which had carried out approximately 40 uprisings by the time of the First World War, got out of control in that period and turned to big massacres. The Armenian organizations, which had grown rich on Westerners' political and economic support and the Russians' military support, fell upon the villages and the cities, and killed everyone they came across, without sparing even women, children, or the elderly. These gangs, whose total membership numbered between 150,000 and 300,000, also fought actively against us in the ranks of the Russian army, which was attacking our territory.
"In many places from Van to Kars, from Erzurum to inner Anatolia, it is estimated that a million Turks and Kurds, all of whom were civilians, were slaughtered by Armenian gangs.
"So, what happened on April 24, ? Actually on April 24, there was no humanitarian tragedy. April 24, 1915 is only the day that organizations like the Dashnaks, Hunchaks, and Ramgavars, which had united with countries that were at war with the Ottoman State and were carrying out activities against it, were shut down and their 235 directors were arrested.
"For example, the 2,500 civilians living in the village of Zeve in Van province, without leaving a single one alive, were martyred by the Armenian gangs. In Muş province alone, in one year, 20,000 of our people were massacred. Some slower Armenian gangs did not hesitate in the mass killing of the Greeks around Trabzon and the Ottoman Jewish citizens around Hakkari.
"The Armenian gangs bragged about the massacres they carried out and the hundreds of thousands of people whom they forced into migration. Many documents about this are available in the archives of the countries of the region.
Unlike U.S. President Biden, "I Am Speaking Based On Documents... We Have About A Million Documents In Our Archive... Let Them Come And Examine The Documents"
"I am speaking based on documents. I am not speaking like the honorable Biden. I do not know based on what Biden is talking, or how. Right now we have about a million documents in our archive. Let them help themselves. Let them come and examine the documents. I wonder, how many documents are there in the American archives on this subject? Or if there are [such documents], will they make them available? Are there [documents] in Europe? If so, can they make them available? We say: Bring it on. But up to [and including] today, they have not been able to answer this call.
"In the war period, 300,000 Armenians continued to live on the soil of our country, most of them in Istanbul and in our western cities. Now there are 100,000 Armenians living in Istanbul.
"At one point, the number of those who returned after the war increased to 650,000. People probably would not return voluntarily to the place where they were slaughtered, where genocide was committed against them, honorable Biden. A census conducted by the British in 1921 counts the total Armenian population within the former Ottoman territories at close to 1.2 million. This number in line with the population before the war, considering the true losses in the course of the war.
"We Have Grown Tired Of The Insistent Desire That We Step Backward On Subjects On Which It Is Known Very Well That We Are Correct"
"On top of the recent developments, the April 24 statement was like rubbing salt [in the wound], now Turkey-U.S. relations have fallen far below that level. With the power we get from our national unity and solidarity, our historic legacy, our geographical advantages, and our matchless potential, we will continue our march, especially locked on to our own goals, no matter what the conditions may be. We have grown tired of the insistent desire that we step backward on subjects on which it is known very well that we are correct. Those who think they can turn us away from these goals in this way should know that they are mistaken.
"I want to remind the honorable Biden that we are no strangers to each other. We have different relations between us. Thank goodness in our trouble they showed the kindness to come all the way to our home to visit us. However, as the two important countries of NATO, as the two important allies of NATO, how is it that you are exchanging Turkey for the Armenian lobby, which has no relation, near or far, to NATO?"