Turkey condemns the statement by US President Joe Biden, saying it opens “ a wound that is difficult to mend in our relations ”.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the US Ambassador to Ankara to protest US President Joe Biden’s decision to label the deportation and murder of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as “genocide”.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met David Satterfield on Saturday to express Ankara’s strong condemnation.
“The declaration has no legal basis in terms of international law and has hurt the Turkish people, opening a wound that is difficult to repair in our relations,” the ministry said.
On Saturday, Biden followed through on a campaign promise to recognize the events that began in 1915 and killed around 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians as genocide.
The statement was carefully drafted to indicate that deportations, massacres and death marches took place in the Ottoman Empire.
“We see this pain. We affirm history. We are not doing this to blame but to make sure that what happened never happens again, ”he said.
The White House proclamation immediately prompted condemnatory statements from Turkish officials, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has yet to address the matter.
“The nature of the events of 1915 does not change based on current political motivations of politicians or domestic political considerations. Such an attitude only serves as a vulgar distortion of history, ”the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also tweeted: “We have nothing to learn from anyone about our own past.”
Turkey rejects the use of the word, saying both Turks and Armenians were killed in the fighting of World War I, and called for a joint history commission to investigate.
For years, US presidents have avoided using “genocide” to describe what Armenians call Meds Yeghern, or the great crime.
“Words cannot change or rewrite history.”
We have nothing to learn from anyone about our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice.
We entirely reject this claim based solely on populism.# 1915Events
– Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 24, 2021
The announcement comes as Turkish-American relations have grown increasingly strained. The United States has sanctioned Turkish defense officials and kicked Turkey out of a fighter jet program after the NATO member bought the Russian-made S400 missile defense system.
Ankara is frustrated with Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish fighters linked to a Kurdish armed group that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades. Turkey has also requested the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric accused of orchestrating a bloody coup attempt against Erdogan’s government in 2016. Gulen lives in the United States and denies any involvement.
Erdogan and Biden spoke on the phone Friday for the first time since the US election.
Ibrahim Kalin, the president’s spokesman, tweeted on Sunday: “President Erdogan opened the national archives of Turkey and called for a joint historical committee to investigate the events of 1915, which Armenia has never answered. It’s a shame that @POTUS ignored this simple fact, among other things, and took an irresponsible and unprincipled stand.