US President Joe Biden on Saturday officially recognized the genocide of the systematic killing and systematic deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by Ottoman Empire soldiers during World War I. The Associated Press reported it. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he rejects the politicization of Armenian dialogue with third parties, and according to the Turkish foreign minister, he refuses to recognize the Armenian massacres as genocide.
Biden’s predecessors avoided using the term genocide in relation to the events of World War I for decades, fearing that they would anger allied Turkey. On Friday, Biden called and informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his intention to issue a genocide declaration. On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to politicize Armenian dialogue with third parties. According to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey completely refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide as genocide and does not need to educate anyone about its history.
“The American people honor all Armenians who lost their lives in the genocide that began on the exact day 106 years ago,” Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. According to the president, the United States feels committed to preventing a recurrence of similar atrocities. According to him, the Armenian nation survived thanks to its strength and resilience, but it has never forgotten its tragic history. “We respect your history. We see the pain. We affirm history. We are not doing this to blame someone, but to ensure that what happens never happens again,” the White House president said.
Ankara immediately took a sharply negative stance on Washington’s statement. “We do not want anyone to teach us anything in our history. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice,” Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşolu said on Twitter. “We totally reject this statement based only on populism,” he added. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “This statement issued by the United States, which distorts historical facts, will never be accepted by the Turkish people and will constitute a deep blow that undermines our mutual trust and our friendship.” Then the Turkish president’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, advised Biden to look at his country’s past and present.
On the contrary, Armenia welcomed the words of the US President. “The Armenian people and all Armenians in the world have received your message with great enthusiasm,” Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Basingan said in a statement. According to him, this is “a strong step on the road to truth and historical justice” and “invaluable support for the descendants of the victims of genocide.”
The number of massacre victims is estimated at 1.5 million. Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, rejects the genocide debate, arguing that the numbers on the number of murders are exaggerated and that the dead were victims of a civil war, not genocide. In his Saturday statement, Biden kept his promise in a presidential campaign exactly a year ago to commemorate the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. Part of the world admits that the events of 1915 to 1923 were part of the attempt to exterminate the Armenians. In addition to Armenian politicians, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned, for example, the assassination of Armenians.
An unnamed senior Biden administration official said, according to Reuters, that Washington continues to view Ankara as an important NATO ally, and that Biden suggested a personal meeting at a NATO summit in June in a phone call with Erdogan on Friday.
In addition to many historians, more than twenty countries attribute the Armenian Genocide to the Ottoman Turks. The United States government has not issued such an official statement yet, but in 2019 Congress approved a call for recognition of the genocide to become an official part of US foreign policy. Biden made a symbolic statement on the day historians said that 106 years had passed since the start of nearly one year of terrorism committed against Armenians in what is now Turkey.
In a decision last year, the Czech Senate described the events at that time as genocide, and Czech President Milos Zeman had previously spoken along the same lines.