U.S. President Joe Biden has officially acknowledged the “genocide” of the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War I hundreds of years ago. This is the first time any US president has acknowledged this. The media reported on the BBC.
Turkey, meanwhile, has “completely rejected” the US decision.
Turkish Foreign Minister tweeted on Saturday, “We will not learn from anyone about our history.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the US ambassador to Ankara to “react sharply”.
According to Bloomberg, Joe Biden raised the issue of Armenian genocide in a recent phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is the first time the two leaders have spoken since Biden was sworn in as president last January.
White House spokeswoman Jelena Porter told reporters on Friday that Biden could make an announcement in a day or two. “The Armenian genocide could be announced tomorrow,” he said.
From 1915 to 1918, about 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the Ottoman Empire. Biden was the first U.S. president to speak out against the recognition of “genocide.”
Turkey has claimed responsibility for World War I, but is reluctant to call it a “genocide.”
On April 24, 1915, hundreds of Armenian leaders and intellectuals were arrested in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) on suspicion of being enemies of the Ottoman government. Most of them were later killed and exiled. Armenians have been observing April 24 as the day of genocide. For a long time, they have been pushing for international recognition of the killings as genocide.
Joe Biden developed close ties with the Armenian-American and Greek-American communities while he was a senator. He also promised to recognize the Armenian genocide during his presidential campaign.
However, Turkey has always said that the genocide and expulsion of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was not genocide, but the result of the great conflict of the First World War.