Armenian Genocide recognition by US President Biden: Reactions

Armenian Genocide recognition by US President Biden: Reactions

Yesterday the US president Biden recognized the Armenian Genocide, today we follow the reactions from around the world.

Text: Zareh-Sevag Sarkissian

 

United States President Joe Biden’s monumental recognition of the Armenian Genocide has been a massively elating gesture to the Armenians of Armenia and particularly in the diaspora, whose restless lobbying and awareness efforts had finally paid off during President Biden’s speech yesterday. 
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s letter to President Biden read: “The people of Armenia and Armenians all over the world perceived with great enthusiasm and welcomed your message ... The acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide is important not only as a tribute paid to the 1.5 million innocent victims but also in terms of preventing the recurrence of similar crimes against mankind.”


Armenians were also heard in the Turkish Parliament by the ethnic-Armenian MP Garo Palyan when he addressed the room by saying: “When Turkey confronts the Armenian genocide, it will no longer matter what other countries or parliaments have to say... We need to bring the pain of the Armenian people, to the land where it belongs, to Turkey. We have to face the pain of the Armenian people and we must relieve this pain through justice. The Armenian people are waiting for justice.”


Many Armenians want to see this new moral stance materialised in parallel forms of action and policies. For Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a U.S.-based political organization, Biden's "recognition is profoundly meaningful for our families," he said. Adding that all four of his grandparents were genocide survivors and credited America with saving many lives.


However, he also urged Biden to translate the "symbolism" of Saturday's statement into hard policy, including supporting Armenia's security, suspending aid programs to Azerbaijan, and stopping arms deals with Turkey, despite any "temper tantrum" the latter may throw as a result.
Nevertheless, the recognition has also sparked outrage in other parts of the world, mainly in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Two of whom agree that Armenian deaths took place during the Great War, but explicitly deny any events occurred that could be remotely considered as “genocide”; even going as far as saying that Armenians themselves murdered Turkish civilians on mass. 
The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated the following: “We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the US regarding the events of 1915 ... It is clear that the said statement does not have a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence.
“This statement ...will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship. We call on the US President to correct this grave mistake”
Whereas the Turkish foreign minister himself Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Even the Turkish main opposition leader Faik Oztrak had the same attitude towards the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide albeit in a more critical manner towards the current Turkish government. He stated; “US President Joe Biden’s description of the painful events of 1915 as “genocide” has gone down in history as a great mistake. Recent statements against Turkey and measures against our country...show the point to which Turkey has been brought by the short-sighted foreign policy carried out by the government.”


The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry supported the Turkish stance to the US President’s statement which comes as no surprise given the bilateral of the two states and the phone call between the Turkish and Azerbaijani leadership to discuss how they are to deal with the new situation at hand. 
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s statement was: “It is unfortunate that the statement by US President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day, distorted the historical facts about the events of 1915. Those who politicize the so-called “Armenian genocide” are silent on the massacre of more than 500,000 people by Armenian armed groups at that time.”

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