ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – The Turkish prime minister, facing widespread anger after threatening to expel thousands of Armenian illegal immigrants, is seeking to reassure Turkey’s minority Armenian community they were not the target.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted Friday his government has championed minority rights.
Erdogan had said Tuesday in an interview with the BBC Turkish service that illegal immigrants from Armenia would be expelled, sparking outrage among the opposition and media. He made the threat after U.S. and Swedish lawmakers approved measures to recognize the Ottoman-era killings of Armenians as genocide.
Erdogan’s government complains its efforts to reconcile with Armenia and reopen their border have not been reciprocated.