Ali Haydar Konca is Minister of European Union Affairs in Turkey. Photo: Rudaw
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's newly appointed envoy to to the European Union (EU) said Tuesday that genocide was committed against Armenians in Turkey during the First World War.
Ali Haydar Konca, a parliamentarian with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was recently appointed as Minister of European Union Affairs by the Turkish interim cabinet. His comments contradict the long-held position of the Turkish government.
“The fact that genocide happened is explicit and clear and everybody accepts that. Right now, the issue is what it should be called. We will make a decision in our party about that,” Konca told the press.
In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will ignore any decision by the EU parliament qualifying the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide.
“Whatever decision the European parliament makes today would go in one ear and out from the other because it is not possible for Turkey to accept such a sin or crime,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on April 15.
The denial of the Armenian Genocide is officially outlawed in Switzerland, Cyprus, Slovakia, and Greece.
This is the first time that a Turkish authority has admitted Turkey committed genocide against Armenians.
The Turkish government acknowledges that during the First World War many Armenians died, but has rejected claims that Turks committed genocide against Armenians the during ethnic conflicts of the time.
The number of Armenians killed ranges from 800,000 to 1.5 million, according to historians.