American President Joe Biden declared the mass slaughter of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks more than a century ago a “genocide,& quot; bucking pressure from Turkey’s government as well as decades of precedent to describe the atrocity as one that was ethnically motivated. The Armenian Genocide recognition, compensation, and territorial claims have been the top priorities for Armenia since the country gained independence in 1991. These issues have been one of the main stumbling blocks in the relationship with Turkey.
Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring, Biden said in a statement. Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us pursue healing and reconciliation for all the people of the world. The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today,” he concluded. Alana Wise wrote an article about this issue. The government of Turkey said Biden’s step would open a deep problem that undermines our mutual trust and friendship.
The Armenian National Committee of America said the president’s declaration ;has ended a century-long era of American complicity in Turkey’s denials. Estimates suggest that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed or deported in the violence unleashed by the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey starting on April 24, 1915. Turkey has consistently rejected the consensus of historians and the Armenian people about classifying the event as a genocide, insisting instead that the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest. Previously, not a single US president has used the word ‘genocide’ when referring to the 1915 killings.
President Barack Obama had called the killings a ‘genocide’ before assuming office, but backed away from using the term while in office, instead of using the Armenian term ‘Metz Yeghern’ means “Great Disaster”. With the new step, which came on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, Biden becomes the first sitting U.S. president to formally call what happened genocide. Previously, the closest a president had ever come to making that designation was when Ronald Reagan referred to “the genocide of the Armenians.
in a 1981 proclamation remembering victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The relationship between the United Stated and Turkey has chilled in recent years, and the decision to label the slaughter of Armenians a genocide could further strain diplomacy between the two nations.
Yet after four years in which the U.S. commitment to human rights faced frequent criticism under former President Donald Trump, the Biden administration has set out early to signal a new tone — with the latest announcement marking just the latest example. Biden spoke with Turkish President Erdogan one day before the announcement, the White House said, but a readout of the call did not say whether the president talked about the Armenian issue with Erdogan. The White House statement said; “President Joseph R. Biden spoke today with Turkish President Erdogan, conveying his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective management of disagreements Both chambers of Congress passed resolutions in 2019 declaring the massacres a genocide, and in recent weeks Biden has faced growing bipartisan calls to follow suit. A March letter signed by 38 members of the Senate urged Biden to officially recognize the truth of the Armenian Genocide,” while a letter signed by more than 100 House members
said the “shameful silence of the United States Government on the historic fact of the Armenian Genocide has gone on for too long.” As a candidate for president last year, Biden reiterated his support for recognizing the mass slaughter as a genocide — a cause he had also supported during his time in the senate We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination. And we will forever respect the perseverance of the Armenian people in the wake of such tragedy, he wrote in a 2020 Medium blog post, explicitly calling the wave of violence a genocide. Turkey continues to vehemently reject the genocide label.
In a statement pre-empting the anniversar and possible Biden remarks, Erdogan said Turkey will continue to defend truths against the so-called Armenian genocide lie and those who support this slander with political motivations. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded to Biden in a tweet saying, ‘Words cannot change or rewrite history.’ We have nothing to learn from anybody in our past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice. We entirely reject this statement based solely on populism.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also released a longer statement further denouncing Biden’s remarks and saying this would “open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship. Turkey also called for Biden to “correct this grave mistake. Members of the Armenian American community praised Biden for his remarks. “President Biden’s principled stand on the Armenian Genocide today — powerfully overriding Ankara’s foreign veto against honest American remembrance of this crime — pivots America to the justice deserved and the security required for the future of the Armenian nation — a landlocked, blockaded, genocide-survivor state, Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Raffi Hamparian said in a statement.
The State Department said it will close the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Turkey for routine services as a “precautionary measure, citing potential demonstrations or protests near U.S. government buildings. The department advised U.S. citizens to avoid those areas, and “exercise heightened caution in locations where Americans or foreigners may gather. American-Armenian political analyst Richard Giragosian told OC Media that genocide recognition is in part a move to regain some of the moral standings of the United States, that was lost
under Donald Trump. This is part of a bigger strategy to correct the policy mistakes of the past and the Trump administration, he said. Giragosian said he believes the reversal of genocide recognition to be precedent-setting. “Once Biden recognizes it, it’s very difficult for any future president to fail to recognize the genocide.”
According to Giragosian, the relationship between the US and Turkey, which is currently strained over the Turkish purchase of Russian-made weaponry and recent crackdowns on domestic opposition and civil society, will not be significantly impacted by Genocide recognition. “The United States is calling the bluff of the threat from Turkey over genocide recognition”, he said.
He also added that the goal of the Biden administration is not to ‘punish’ Turkey, but to reset the relationship with it under new terms while showing to the world that geopolitics is no longer an excuse for genocide denial’. The genocide recognition of the US caused a big disappointment in Turkey. Analysts argue that bilateral relations will face new problematic issues soon. In addition to the problematic Turkish-American relations, Turkey generally concerns about compensation and territorial claim issues by Armenians.