Joe Biden is the first American president to officially recognize the Armenian genocide. In a statement distributed by the White House on Saturday, he commemorates the victims of the genocide that began on 24 April 1915.
The Ottoman authorities deported and murdered about 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1917. very sensitive in Turkey, the country denies that there was targeted genocide.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu completely rejects the recognition. “No one has to tell us anything about our own past. This whole statement is populism and undermines the bond between countries.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes in a statement that Biden has no legal basis for this ruling. A spokesman for President Recep Erdogan says that the United States should look at their own past.
The Armenian Prime Minister calls the recognition a “strong step towards justice and strong support for the descendants of the victims.” Nikol Pashinian welcomes the recognition of the genocide, also given the recent turmoil between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Biden says that he does not want to accuse anyone, but that by acknowledging the genocide, he wants to prevent it from happening again. “Let us renew our intention to prevent this kind of cruelty, and let us pursue reconciliation and forgiveness.”
An American official said, after the statement was published, that Biden still wants to work closely with Turkey, which is a NATO ally. To keep the damage limited, Biden spoke to Erdogan on Friday. In June, they will meet at the NATO summit. Turkey has not announced any diplomatic measures, which it did before when countries recognised the Armenian genocide.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan also called it a genocide, but that was never mentioned in an official statement. Since then, all presidents have avoided the floor.