Biden would explain the atrocities committed against Armenia were genocide

On Saturday, President Joe Biden plans to follow up on a campaign that promises to formally acknowledge that the Ottoman Empire’s aggression against the Armenian people more than a century ago in present-day Turkey was genocide, according to US officials familiar with the president’s deliberations.

Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday pending his plan, in a presidential proclamation to mark Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, to use the term genocide to describe the killings and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. For decades, US presidents have recognized Memorial Day to mark the events of 1915 to 1923 but have avoided using the term “genocide” to avoid promoting Turkey.

The US and Turkish governments did not mention in a separate statement after Friday’s call the US plan to recognize the Armenian genocide. The White House said Biden told Erdogan he wanted to improve relations between the two countries and find “effective settlement of disagreements.” The two also agreed to hold a bilateral meeting at the NATO summit in Brussels in June.

Biden promised as a candidate to recognize the massacre of Armenians as genocide and claimed that “silence is complicity.” Biden wanted to talk to Erdogan before formally acknowledging, according to officials, that he spoke on condition of anonymity to describe Biden’s deliberations and plans.

Friday’s talks between the two leaders were their first since Biden took office more than three months ago. The delay had become a worrying sign in Ankara; Erdogan had a good relationship with former President Donald Trump and had hoped for a recovery despite previous friction with Biden.

On Friday, Erdogan reiterated his long-standing claims that the United States supports Kurdish fighters in Syria who are affiliated with the Iraqi-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. In recent years, Turkey has launched military operations against PKK enclaves in northern Iraq and against US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters. The Foreign Ministry has appointed the PKK a terrorist organization but has argued with Turkey about the group’s ties to the Syrian Kurds.

Erdogan also raised concerns about the presence in the United States of the priest Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of organizing a failed 2016 coup attempt, according to the Turkish government statement. Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s, denies involvement in the coup.

‘Autocrat’ Erdogan

Biden, during the campaign, picked up Turkish officials after an interview with The New York Times in which he talked about supporting Turkey’s opposition to “autocratic” Erdogan. In 2019, Biden accused Trump of betraying US allies, following Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, paving the way for a Turkish military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish group. In 2014, when he was vice president, Biden apologized to Erdogan after proposing in a speech that Turkey help facilitate the growth of the Islamic State by allowing foreign fighters to cross Turkey’s border with Syria.

Lawmakers and Armenian American activists have lobbied Biden to announce the genocide before or before Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, which presidents usually mark with a proclamation.

Salpi Ghazarian, director of the University of Southern California Institute of Armenian Studies, said the recognition of genocide would resonate outside Armenia because Biden insists that respect for human rights will be a central principle of his foreign policy.

“Within the United States and beyond, the United States’ commitment to fundamental human values ​​has been called into question for decades,” she said. “It is very important for people in the world to continue to have the hope and belief that the United States’ ambition values ​​are still relevant and that we can actually do several things at once. We can actually continue trade and other relations with countries while we urge the fact that a government cannot escape the murder of its own citizens. “

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned the Biden administration earlier this week that recognition would “damage” US-Turkey ties.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to comment Friday on Biden’s deliberations on the issue.


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