US President Joe Biden officially called the massacres of ethnic Armenians in the early 20th century in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, noting that most of the survivors of that period “were forced to look for new homes and new life around the world, including in the United States,” RIA Novosti reports. …
The White House website posted a statement from the President of the United States:
“Every year on this day, we remember the lives of everyone who died during the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire, and we again pledge to prevent a repetition of such atrocities. Since April 24, 1915, when the Ottoman authorities arrested representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia and community leaders in Constantinople, one and a half million Armenians have been deported, killed or sent to their death as part of a campaign of extermination. We honor the memory of the victims of Meds Yeghern (the great atrocity) so that the horrors of what happened will never be forgotten by history.
With strength and resilience, the Armenian people survived and rebuilt their community. Over the past decades, Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their history. We see this pain. We confirm history. “
The United States has recognized the Armenian Genocide for the first time at the presidential level. Before that, only statements from the 44th President Barack Obama and the US House of Congress were heard, but this did not go further. American media reported that the current head of state announced his actions in a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan called the accusations against Turkey “false”. Mevlut Cavusoglu, the country’s foreign minister, tweeted: “Ankara completely rejects this statement based solely on populism.” Turkey has always reacted painfully to criticism on this issue, insisting on the rejection of the term “genocide” in connection with the events of 1915. Ankara claims that among the victims were not only Armenians, but also Turks, calling for the creation of an international commission in order to study the archives and an objective approach to the events of that time.
Ibrahim Kalin, press secretary and adviser to the Turkish president to Reuters, said today that Turkey will have a mandatory reaction to Biden’s statements:
“In the coming days and months, there will be reactions of various forms, types and degrees.”
It is not clear whether Turkey will restrict US access to the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, which is used to support the international coalition fighting jihadists, or will take other measures.
Turkish officials immediately and unanimously condemned Biden’s statement. Kalin said the president would settle the issue after a cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday, noting:
“At the time and place we deem appropriate, we will continue to respond to this very unfortunate and unfair statement.”
Ankara recognizes the massacres of many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in clashes with Ottoman forces during the First World War. But he categorically denies that they were organized and that it was genocide.