U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday recognized the Armenian Genocide. The highly symbolic recognition coincides with Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day and comes 106 years after the beginning of the mass deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which led to the deaths of up to 1.5 million people.
“The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.” Biden said in a statement.
“Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history … We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated,” Biden said.
Biden’s declaration follows a non-binding resolution by the U.S. Senate adopted unanimously in 2019 recognizing the killings as genocide.
For decades, measures recognizing the Armenian genocide stalled in the U.S. Congress and U.S. presidents have refrained from calling it that, stymied by concerns about relations with Turkey and intense lobbying by Ankara.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces between 1915 and 1923, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
Furious comments by Turkish officials came right away.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Biden of “political opportunism.”
“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.#1915Events
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 24, 2021
Speaking to Turkish media earlier he had warned that the Recognition would harm US-Turkish ties.
The United States is now part of a group of 30 countries that have recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian National Institute.
With information also from Reuters.
Not a minute too soon, should have been done years ago! And by may more countries. Cant understand why it hasnt been done much earlier. Mr Erdogan will rage but so what, he does not rule. At last the poor armenians suffering has been acknowleged.
Canada recognized the Armenian genocide formally on April 25, 2004.
A “genocide week” was created and formally recognized on April 23, 1996. This was shortly after the Rwandan genocide during which Canadian blue helmets could only sit and watch helplessly even though they asked for backup and the right to quell the atrocities happening before their eyes. Instead of getting the OK, they were told to withdraw the troops as the UN Blue Helmet mandate is non-violence.