China Should Retaliate Against Turkey by Recognizing the Genocide

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to have fallen into the bad habit of periodically accusing various countries of committing genocide. By doing so, the Turkish leader is inadvertently creating new opportunities for the international media to raise the issue of the Armenian Genocide.

In January of this year, Erdogan accused Israel of committing genocide during its Gaza offensive. Several Israeli leaders and members of the media reacted by pointing out that Turkish officials should be the last ones to talk of genocide given their country’s culpability in the Armenian Genocide. Some members of the Israeli government were so offended that they threatened to retaliate by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

Earlier this month, Erdogan returned to his favorite topic, this time accusing China of committing genocide. He was furious that several dozen Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs were killed in the Xinjiang province, during clashes with the Han Chinese who suffered many more casualties.

According to a Reuters report, Erdogan stated on July 10: “The incidents in China are, simply put, a genocide. There’s no point in interpreting this otherwise.” Erdogan’s unwise words elicited immediate reaction from the international media, which pointed out his foolishness in accusing others of genocide, given his country’s poor record on minority rights and its responsibility for the Armenian Genocide.

The Economist magazine reported that “in the past few days internet forums in China have been clamoring their support for Kurdish separatists,” a subject that was practically unheard of in China before Erdogan’s accusation of genocide. The magazine also stated that Turkey is now “finding itself in the line of fire.”

The Associated Press, in covering Erdogan’s characterization of the clashes in China as genocide, devoted an entire paragraph to the Armenian Genocide: “Turkey itself is extremely sensitive to the use of the term ‘genocide.’ Armenia says 1.5 million Armenians were slain by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I in what Armenians and several other nations recognize as the first genocide of the 20th century…”

Reuters also covered Erdogan’s accusation of genocide against China, indicating that “the genocide label is particularly sensitive in Turkey, which strongly refutes Armenian claims that the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One constituted genocide.”

Sylvia Hui, a columnist of Hong Kong’s Asia Sentinel, ridiculed Erdogan for his flippant use of the term genocide. She wrote: “What’s interesting about this accusation is not only the premature and almost casual way it has been pronounced (especially given how sensitive Turkey is to the word with regard to Armenian accusations that Ottoman Turks committed the first genocide of the 20th century), but also how it contradicts other things Erdogan reportedly said on the same occasion… In any case, the Turkish leader comes across as thoroughly hypocritical or too eager to please Uighurs at home to have thought it through before making such a strong remark.”

The liberal Turkish newspaper Radikal joined the fray by quoting from the editorial of the Boston-based Armenian Weekly newspaper on Erdogan’s ludicrous condemnation of China: “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” The editorial took Erdogan to task for having “the audacity to compare the killing of a few dozen Uighurs to genocide while it continues to spend millions to deny the killing of a million and a half Armenians.” Radikal concluded by quoting the Weekly’s sarcastic conclusion: “After all, even by the official Turkish account, there were more than 150 people who were killed in 1915.”

The Chinese state press, not surprisingly, was even more critical of Erdogan. The People’s Daily wrote on July 14: “Many Chinese citizens feel insulted by Turkish actions and suggest that China should change its attitude towards the Kurdistan Workers Party and support their appeal for independence, so as to make Turkey pay a heavy political price… Turkey was once accused of committed genocide in Armenia by the West and its crackdown on Kurdistan Workers’ Party has also stirred up numerous controversies.” The People’s Daily also published several letters critical of Turkey, one of which stated: “The Kurdish massacres in Turkey were a kind of genocide and Nazism. Linking China to genocide is like a thief shouting ‘stop thief.’”

Another Chinese newspaper, The China Daily, in an editorial titled, “Don’t Twist Facts,” urged Erdogan to “take back his remarks…which constitute interference in China’s internal affairs.”

The most effective measure China can take in response to Erdogan’s hysterical accusations is to have the Chinese Parliament adopt a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. hi, i am emrah an i am turkish. i actually like this news. this is kind of right.if we don’t count armenian genocide or (so-called genocide) i don’t know maybe it’s happen. i have never believe things blindly. the true is Turkish officials should be the last ones to talk of genocide given their country’s culpability in the Armenian Genocide. that’s right
    we should solve that problem first before we talk about other countries’s situation. also, of course, i don’t believe my country’s prime minister. he is an ignorant. but if we forget about what he said about this situation, uyghiurs and tibetans are really being underdog in china, i know that because i am living in china. i was an eyewitness with something.
    any way last thing i want to say is that turkish pm is doign that because of next elections. he just cares about votes. he is an ignorant he doesn’t even know what is going on in this country. uyghurs killed han people in here but but turkish pm is screaming chinese people are doing genocide. that’s just really foolish thing turkish pm does. if china recognizes armenian genocide claim that is not really going to work. it’s all about mentality of the people. i am leaving my msn in case of somebody wants to talk about it to me. don’t worry i am not spy or something. thanks….

  2. Absolutely, my Armenian friend. We will strongly condemn the genocide of Armenians by the Turks, and will never allow the restoration of the Turk empire once terrorizing the Eurasian people.

    • Labeling someone as “good” or “bad” based solely on their acceptance or denial of the Armenian Genocide is a dangerous precedent to set.

      I think “open-minded” would be more appropriate, even “educated”.

  3. man, you can’t call turkish people as terrorist. i disagree that.but i think turkish people are stuck between modernization which mean free ideas and its own glory.glory is important for a country and cultures but if it stupid and unnecessary, it’s just stupid and harming people. i heard thousands of stupid ideas which are turkish people thinking about not only armenians, also other countries.turkish people are some kind of washed-brain. i highly appreciate that armenian people at least are not cursing my country’s values and trying to change to regime of turkey. turkey’s current prime minister cursed to my country on top of a bus when he was having election campaign, and people believed him. he tried to break the secularism of i think armenian people are not dangerous for turkey at all. dangerous thing is the people who is trying to make us fight to each other.
    i agree that armenian people are being underdog and turkey and i don’t like that. they are suppose to say what they think if turkey wants to be free country. i think armenian people are scarifying turkey either. but eventualy you are telling the truth. yes, i am sure something happened in 1915, but i really want to be objective about it, and i also want armenian people to be objective. we are brothers, we came on these lands after but we are appropriated. i think one day turkey will accept this naturally. my opinion is extremly free. i want to talk to people who has free ideas like me. thanks…there are also many things to say. turkey is not terrorizing eurosia

    • This term “good Turk” really is concerning.
      Defining someone as good or bad based on whether or not they acknowledge the Armenian Genocide is a very dangerous precedent.
      I would prefer the term “open-minded” was used, or some such descriptor.

  4. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to be truly stupid to make a comment like that, accusing China of genocide. I guess he thinks he is a humanitarian. Oh, the hypocrisy. Turkey, a country with so much blood in its hands; one which includes the Armenian Genocide, accusing China of genocide for killing some 150 people. Killing people is not right, even 150 or 1, so I am not protecting China. But Erdogans comments are just plain stupid. period.

  5. he is totally stupid and the thing what i can’t take that the people listen to him. he uses turkish people. wahtever, i disagree that you say turkey holds so much blood in its hand. because our politians definitely don’t know how to make foreign relationship. turkey is suppose to open the doors to armenia and let us know each other you know any idia how much stupid opinions i listened when i was in the college in turkey. turkish people blame israel and claim that israeli people are massacring palestinians, however, only israel was helping turkish military when they were clashing with pkk. that could call ungratefulness. uyghur turks killed han people. i am an objective person so i can say that but i really think those things are happening because of the behaviors of the chinese government. they are second class citizen in here. at least we don’t do that in turkey. the problem in turkey is people can’t think sophisticated, that’s why armenian turkish citizens are just getting shut their mouth by the people. but police can’t do anything to you if you say you hate turkey in public. that’s legal in turkey but in china they will accuse you as betrayer and maybe they will execute you.
    in turkey, we at least can say that we don’t like this prime minister and we have supreme court that we still think it will protect the country’s secularism and third-rate democracy and freedom.
    thanks.. please let me know your opinions more .
    try to avoid of scarifying.
    i also write my emailling address at the first comment of mine.

  6. Erdoghan dezired to show that Turkey is the FATHER of all muslims…and care about all turks :(
    Erdoghan and Turkey have no moral right to talk about Genocide committed by other countries until they recognize their own committed ARMENIAN GENOCIDE!

  7. it’s not about guys don’t really understand our situation.look, even if i accept that happened and i say that to my friends in turkey, i will just get stone by they and they will blame what kind of turkish i am.i was always blamed because of my objectiveness.also even if i believe that armenian people are dangerous and enemy of my country, they are not more dangerous than this government which describe itself representative of turkey. as i said armenian turkish citizens are not second-class citizen in turkey that means there is still hope. there is no any party who will accept the genocide then will be government.democracy in turkey is comlicated. i want to accept at least something happened in 1915 but i am just getting blame by other turkish people. i am turkish but i am kind of ready to accept that. this subject should be opened for researching.
    emrah tuncer

  8. you don’t understand my friend. i agree that it’s time to push the button for it. but i am telling you, it won’t be so good for armenians minority in turkey. wait, first of all we have to change that crap government and learn how to make foreign relationship objectively. this event will be accepted naturally after,

  9. Only yesterday on Jewish TV they showed that the Uyghours in N.West China were demonstrating against China´s Govt.The news commentator also mentioned there are some 21 million of these who are moslem,the Uyghours that is BTW a 1% count within the 2 Billion Chinese…which can be compared -as an example-there are 1% Zoroastre(sun worshipping )Armeniasn in Armenia…
    However,I wish to ¨despertar¨awaken sort of Avery here, that he can now orderly and nicely re state that their Motherland-like pm Daoutoghlu state while on a visit to Uyghouristan that they can relocate there-their Patria….

  10. It’s insane for Erdogan to even speak the word genocide. The facts speak for themselves: Turkey did indeed commit one of the worlds worst genocides against the Armenians. They have massacred and repressed the Kurds as well as invading and occupying Cyprus which the entire world condemns and does not recognize. The Turks even imported well over 120,000 at irks to Cyprus and destroyed heritage sites of antiquity with abandon. Turkey has behaved so inhumanely throughout history, it’s a wonder they weren’t driven off the land they stole by world powers long ago. Erdogan is among the worst bigots of any world leader and deserves a wholesale boycott until he leaves office. Under Edogan, a Turkey has sunk to all time lows in bigotry, division and hatred. No one in the entire ME likes the Turks anymore due to his policies and arrogance. The man is a filthy dictator, not a leader of any sort. G-d bless Armenia.

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