US President Joe Biden has announced that from now on, Washington recognizes the actions of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century against the Armenians as a genocide, despite earlier objections from Turkey.
“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”, Biden said in a statement.
While the move is purely symbolic, it has already sparked harsh criticism from Turkey.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated that Ankara “entirely rejects” the US declaration. He also stressed that Biden’s move undermines the mutual “trust and friendship” between Turkey and the US and that it has caused “a deep wound”.
Cavusoglu accused Washington of “distorting historical facts” and that this will “never be accepted by the people of Turkey”.
“We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal to peace and justice”, the minister added.
For its part, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan also criticized Biden’s decision, calling the move regrettable.