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Pontic Greek genocide remembered

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Pontic Greek Genocide Remembrance Day, which commemorates the systematic killing of Greeks who lived on the shores of the Black Sea by the Ottoman Turks during World War I and the subsequent Greco-Turkish War, was honored on Wednesday by Greek Parliament.

The Pontic genocide was officially recognized by the Greek state on February 24, 1994 and Parliament unanimously voted to establish May 19 as the day of remembrance of the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus.

“It is 102 years since the genocide of Pontian Hellenism, a dark page in our history, which remains unjust to this day,” said the first deputy speaker of Parliament, Nikitas Kaklamanis, opening the session, while stressing the need for joint action and a national endeavor to secure international recognition of the genocide.

Representing the government, Vice President Panagiotis Pikrammenos referred to the recent decision by US President Joe Biden to recognize the Armenian genocide. This, he said, “gives the green light to other governments to follow similar steps.” “The genocide of the Greeks of Pontus concerns all of us; it is for Hellenism the basis for forging of our national consciousness,” he added.

Statements marking the genocide were also made by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, as well as the leader of main opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted strongly on Wednesday, denouncing the statements by the Greek Parliament and political leadership as a complete distortion of history.

It said the statements “are unfounded and delusional, and we categorically reject them.”

“In the same vein, we condemn the efforts of anti-Turkey lobbies to deceive third countries by bringing up the distorted allegations also outside of Greece, which have no historical basis,” the ministry statement added.