President Joe Biden is the first American leader to recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in more than a century as a genocide. And US media reported that he is challenging NATO ally Turkey with this. The Ankara government stated that there were Armenian victims during World War I in the Ottoman Empire at the time, but it was not a genocide.
Biden is expected to speak openly about the genocide on Saturday, the 106th anniversary of the killings that began in 1915. Then the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of present-day Turkey, fought against Russia in what is now Armenia.
Biden had already promised recognition of the genocide during his election campaign, and members of the Democratic Party are now calling him to do so already: “The shameful silence of the United States government on the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide has taken a long time to end.” The US Parliament has already called the murders at the end of 2019 a genocide.
Anger from Ankara
While the historic recognition of Biden has no legal ramifications, it will infuriate Ankara, as the US media expects. The Turks insist that no genocide occurred and that both sides committed atrocities during the war. Biden’s move could escalate tensions with Turkey. On Thursday, Turkish President Erdogan promised to “defend the truth” against those who support the “lie of genocide.”
Dozens of countries previously described mass killing as genocide. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives in The Hague called on the government to take the same step. Turkey said at the time that the measure “aims to rewrite history based on political motives.”
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