Turkey said Thursday it regretted “baseless claims” by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou during an event to present the design for the new “Hall for the Global Pontian Greeks of Sourmena,” where she describe the killings of Pontic Greeks as a genocide.
“These allegations do not change the very fact that it was Greece that attempted to invade and occupy Anatolia, and that the Greek army committed barbaric crimes against humanity, especially against innocent civilians in the Western Anatolian region,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.
“We would like to remind once again that in the face of these atrocities, which were also recorded in the report of the Allied Powers Inquiry Commission, Greece was obliged to pay a compensation, pursuant to the Article 59 of the Lausanne Peace Treaty,” it added.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Sakellaropoulou said that the “tragic end” of Pontic Greek presence in Anatolia, “with the methodical and systematic genocide with persecutions, massacres, attempts at violent Islamization and unspeakable barbarism, uprooted them from their ancestral homes and brought them to the path of becoming refugees.”
The Hall is expected to be built inside the former Elliniko airport in southern Athens.