Breaking: Biden becomes first US pres. to recognize ‘Armenian genocide,’ irking Turkey
US President Joe Biden has emerged as the first American president to proclaim formal recognition of the politically-motivated “Armenian genocide,” which has long become an annual ritual for successive US presidents and lawmakers to promote the anti-Turkey stance more than a century after the carnage, blamed on Ottoman troops but never officially sanctioned.
“The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today,” Biden declared in a Saturday statement that is expected to further intensify persisting tensions between the new Democratic US administration and NATO ally Turkey.
“Beginning on 24 April 1915 with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination,” Biden further claimed.
Reacting to the hostile move targeting Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted Biden’s proclamation as “political opportunism” in a Twitter post, writing: “Words cannot change or rewrite history. We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal to peace and justice. We entirely reject this statement based solely on populism.”
A separate statement issued by Turkey’s foreign ministry further insisted that Biden’s declaration lacked any scholarly legal grounds, saying: “It is clear that the said statement does not have a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence. This statement … will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship. We call on the US president to correct this grave mistake”
According to press reports, Biden has called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday to inform him about his intent to make the designation in a conversation that was described as tense.