Turkey: After Reagan and Biden characterize the events of 1915 as Armenian genocide – Reactions from Turkey

Turkey: After Reagan and Biden characterize the events of 1915 as Armenian genocide – Reactions from Turkey

The statements of US President Joe Biden, which characterizes as genocide, the events of 1915  Turkish side calls, which took place by the Ottoman administration against the Armenians, have provoked strong reactions in the Turkish political leadership.

Of course, this is not the first time that an American President has referred to the Armenian Genocide. In 1981 US President Ronald Reagan referred to the Armenian Genocide. Of course, these reports are not considered as recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as votes are required for the Congress consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Joe Biden in a statement on the 106th anniversary of 1915, referred twice as genocide, while the use of the word Constantinople instead of the name Istanbul is impressive.

“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. Beginning on April 24, 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. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms” said Biden.

The careful, but very clear, statement of the American President, where he does not connect 1915 with the current Turkish Republic, but with the Ottoman period, disturbed the political leadership of Turkey.

The reaction of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was immediate, who wrote in a post on his personal Twitter account that «“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”.

In a statement, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun notes that “We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the US regarding the events of 1915 made under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups on 24 April”.

“It is clear that the said statement does not have a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence. With regards to the events of 1915, none of the conditions required for the use of the term “genocide” that is strictly defined in international law are met”.

“The nature of the events of 1915 does not change according to the current political motives of the politicians or domestic political considerations. Such an attitude serves only a vulgar distortion of history”.

“This statement of the US, which distorts the historical facts, will never be accepted in the conscience of the Turkish people, and will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship”.

“We call on the US President to correct this grave mistake, which serves no purpose other than to satisfy certain political circles and to support the efforts aiming to establish a practice of peaceful coexistence in the region, especially among the Turkish and Armenian nations, instead of serving the agenda of those circles that try to foment enmity from history” said Altun.

“There will be a reaction of different forms and kinds and degrees in the coming days and months,” Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters.

“Everything that we conduct with the US will be under the spell of this very unfortunate statement,” he said.

Underlining that Turkey’s parliament is expected to make a statement Monday, he said the US declaration would not provide any legal basis for potential reparation claims.

“To reduce all that to one word and try to implicate that Turks were involved, our Ottoman ancestors were involved in genocidal acts, is simply outrageous,” he added./ibna