Turkey Creates Institution Dedicated to Denying Early 20th-Century Genocide of Christians

June 29, 2020

Persecution of Christians in Turkey: over 1,000,000 Greek Orthodox Christians were massacred in the Ottoman Empire during the period of the Greek Genocide in the early twentieth century, the history of which is detailed extensively in the important book, The Thirty-Year Genocide by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi (Harvard University Press). The Ottoman government also pursued the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, the Republic of Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people were forcibly converted to Islam. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge this atrocity as a genocide, saying that it was simply a religious conflict between Christians and Muslims.

As we continue to see the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Mother Church of Constantinople suffering from religious persecution, we remember these horrifying events, note with sorrow the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere today, and pray that such inhumanity will never again be seen anywhere in the world.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“Erdogan Creates Institution to Deny Armenian Genocide,” International Christian Concern, June 27, 2020:

06/27/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey’s state-run media has announced the outcome of a five-hour Presidential High Advisory Board meeting held on June 16th which addressed the Armenian genocide. Following this meeting, President Erdogan decided to develop a so-called “new autonomous and civilian structure” which would focus on the genocide.

The Armenian genocide murdered, deported, or forcibly converted over 1.5 million Christians living in Turkey’s predecessor, the Ottoman Empire. Turkey has refused to acknowledge their country’s role in this, despite international recognition and scholarship saying otherwise. The authorities also continue policies which helped facilitate the genocide….

The new institution presented by President Erdogan would conduct research and develop strategies to refute the Armenian genocide….Since most institutions in Turkey are state-run, there is no expectation that this expectation that this institution will be autonomous from government interference.