Top adviser to Turkish Prime Minister, ethnic Armenian Etyen Mahcupyan has been dismissed, the Turkish Hurriyet reported. It said, however, that Mahcupyan left office automatically on March 9 because of his age.
The first ever member of Turkey’s Armenian community to hold the post of senior advisor to the Turkish prime minister has retired, an official told AFP Thursday, after he described the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a “genocide.”
The official, who asked not to be named, denied any link between the departure of Etyen Mahcupyan and the looming 100th anniversary on April 24 of the start of the 1915 killings of Armenians, which Yerevan regards as genocide.
Mahcupyan, 65, “has retired on the grounds of age,” the official said, noting this was the age limit for all Turkish civil servants.
Mahcupyan, who was appointed last year as senior advisor to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, infuriated some within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) this week when he qualified the mass killings of Armenians as a “genocide.”
“If accepting that what happened in Bosnia and Africa were genocides, it is impossible not to call what happened to Armenians in 1915 genocide too,” Mahcupyan said in an interview published this week.
EU Minister Volkan Bozkır earlier expressed unease over remarks by Prime Ministerial adviser Etyen Mahcupyan that it was impossible to say that Armenians were not subjected to a genocide in 1915, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Mahcupyan’s description “was not appropriate for his title of adviser,” Bozkır said on April 16 during a televised interview.
But the remarks are to “each their own,” he said, noting that Mahcupyan would likely reconsider his remarks.
Commenting on Pope Francis’ remarks on April 12 describing 1915 as “the first genocide of the 20th century,” Mahcupyan said the Vatican had “thrown off a 100-year-old psychological burden.”
Mahcupyan, who became the ever first Armenian-origin chief adviser to a Turkish prime minister, said that what actually needed to be questioned was the 100-year resistance to using the term.