Daily US Times: The United States formally declared on Saturday that the systematic killing and deportation of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Empire forces in the early 20th century was “genocide”. President Joe Biden used the precise word “genocide” after the US administration had avoided it for decades for fear of alienating ally Turkey.
After President Biden’s comments, Turkey reacted with furor. Turkish foreign minister said his country “will not be given lessons on our history from anyone.”
A grateful Armenia said it appreciated President Biden’s “principled position” as a step toward “the restoration of truth and historical justice.”
President Joe Biden was following through on a campaign promise he made a year ago Saturday to recognize that the events that began in 1915 were a deliberate effort to wipe out Armenians. He made the promise at the annual commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
While previous presidents of the United States have offered somber reflections of the dark moment in history, they have studiously avoided using the term “genocide” out of concern that it would complicate relations with Turkey, an important power in the Middle East and also a NATO ally.
But Mr Biden campaigned on a promise to make human rights a central guidepost of his foreign policy.
Last year, he argued that failing to call the atrocities against the Armenian people a genocide would pave the way for future mass atrocities. An estimated 2m Armenians were deported — 1.5m of whom were killed in the events known as Metz Yeghern.
President Biden said in a statement: “The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.”
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