U.S. President Joe Biden said in an official statement that the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century was genocide. It was announced by the White House press service on April 24.
“Every year on this day, we remember all those who died as a result of the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire, and recommit ourselves to prevent such atrocities from happening again,” the head of state said in a statement.
He noted that many of those who survived were forced to seek a new home and a new life around the world, including in the United States.
“With strength and resilience, the Armenian people have survived and rebuilt their community. Over the decades, Armenian migrants have enriched the United States in many 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 that pain. We reaffirm history. We do this not to place blame, but to ensure that what happened will never happen again,” the U.S. president added.
Biden also underscored that the American people honor all Armenians who lost their lives as a result of genocide that began 106 years ago.
For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu rejected the U.S. statement on the Armenian genocide and called it populist.
“Words cannot change or rewrite history. We have nothing to learn from anyone regarding our past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice. We totally reject this statement based on populism,” the minister wrote on Twitter.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also released a statement saying that Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire undermines relations between Washington and Ankara.
“This U.S. statement, which distorts historical facts, will never be accepted by the Turkish people and will open a deep wound that will damage our mutual trust and friendship,” the communiqué said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, on the contrary, welcomed the American leader’s statement and said that recognition of the genocide is a step toward truth and historical justice.
“The recognition of the Armenian genocide by the United States is a much-needed message to the international community that affirms human rights and values in international relations. It is an encouraging and inspiring example to all who want to build together a just, tolerant international society. Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration,” the Armenian Prime Minister wrote on Facebook.
From 1915 to 1918 between 700 thousand and 1.5 million Armenians died in the Ottoman Empire. Some of them were directly exterminated, others were massively deported. Turkey does not recognize the genocide and calls the Armenian victims of the First World War victims. Many countries, including Russia, France, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the Vatican and Canada have recognized the Armenian genocide.