President of the United States, Joe Biden has formally declared the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the first world war ‘a genocide.’
Biden made the historic move being the first US president to formally recognize the killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, breaking away from decades of carefully calibrated language from the White House.
“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,” reads the statement, released on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
“The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.”
The pronouncement on Saturday was warmly welcomed by the Armenian diaspora in the United States but immediately rejected Turkey, whose relationship with Washington has recently reached a low owing to deep policy disagreements over a host of issues.
Turkey, although acknowledged the deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, it has steadfastly denied that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected Biden’s statement, insisting that it was without any “scholarly and legal basis”
The ministry wrote; “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.”
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said Turkey “entirely rejects” the U.S. decision which he said was based “solely on populism”
“We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past,” the minister tweeted.