Joe Biden becomes the first American president to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, more than a hundred years after the mass killings by the Ottoman soldiers and made a gap between the new United States administration and Ankara. On Saturday, the president stated that the American nationals honor all those Armenians who perished in the deadly genocide that started one hundred and six years ago.
Today @POTUS rightly recognized the Armenian genocide.
This long overdue act sends a clear message: history will side with those who speak up and condemn the unspeakable crime of genocide.
I honor the Armenian-American communities who worked for this momentous day. 🇺🇸🇦🇲
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) April 24, 2021
Further, he adds that the genocide started on 24th April 1915 when Ottoman authorities arrested the community leaders and Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople. They also deported one and half million Armenians and marched or murdered them in a campaign of extermination. Additionally, the U.S. President called Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, told him that America would make the designation on the 106th genocide anniversary on Friday.
The discussion between two presidents reported as tense, and it didn’t mention the issue in official accounts of the exchange. Ankara instantly condemned the statement of the American president. On Twitter, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the Turkish diplomat, wrote that words couldn’t rewrite or change history. They have nothing to learn from anyone about their country’s past. Moreover, political unscrupulousness is the biggest betrayal to justice and peace. Officially he rejected Biden’s statement based exclusively on populism.
“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.#1915Events
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 24, 2021
Black Lives Matter Movement
A senior American administration official stated that Biden would declare no matter the state of two-sided relations with Turkey. The official further added that it intensely held the conviction of Joe Biden when he was in the Senate, and he also made his position very clear during his 2020 presidential campaign.
Additionally, the official made a connection to the surge of problems of identity during the Black Lives Matter movement along with the attacks on Asian Americans. The status of Turkey as a NATO member and longtime regional partner prohibited United States presidents from making an official designation. However, relations between Ankara and Washington soured intensely in the last few years.
Lobbying by Armenian American Organizations
The declaration from the U.S. president marked the conclusion of some decades of lobbying by Armenian American organizations. Furthermore, the head of the Armenian Assembly of America, Bryan Ardouny, says that it is a critically crucial moment in defense of human rights. The president is standing steady against hundred years of denial and is projecting a course for human rights everywhere.
Additionally, the killing of over 1.5 million Armenians carried out as the Ottoman kingdom was failing and the modern state of Turkey just started. Several people died in death marches into the Syrian desert. Likewise, the killing mainly took as a crime on an enormous scale – and a grim forerunner to the Nazi Holocaust.
Ronald Reagan stated the American genocide in a statement in 1981 on the Holocaust, but not followed by official recognition. The former U.S. President Barack Obama, Armenian Americans, would take that move but go back once in office, unwilling to distress a partner. Whereas in 2019, both Congress chambers announced their own recognition, in spite of the efforts of former Republican President Donald Trump to stop them.