Turkish Presidential Board Denies Genocide of Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Christians

June 20, 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.

“Turkish Presidential Board Denies Armenian Genocide,” International Christian Concern, June 19, 2020:

06/19/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – On Tuesday, the High Advisory Board of the Turkish Presidency held a closed-door meeting to develop a response to so-called “groundless and anti-Turkey allegations” regarding the 1915 genocide against Christians.

President Erdogan and his communications director called the genocide a distorted historical event. The board accused the Armenian community of exploiting Ottoman pain and of slander for speaking about the genocide. This genocide is internationally recognized as a historically proven fact; one which Turkey has never apologized for. Instead Turkey has perpetuated and maintained those policies which led to the genocide.

Failure to acknowledge the genocide and Turkey’s intense efforts to deny it have led to significant persecution for the Christian communities who remain in Turkey. These issues cannot be understood without the historical context of the genocide, and the government actively discourages Christians from explaining this perspective. Turkey’s propaganda efforts regarding the genocide often includes language which justifies the mass murder of Christians, thus encouraging social hostilities towards Christians that have at times been expressed through deadly violence….