He is the first president of the United States to do so

For decades, the White House avoided calling the systematic killing of Armenians and the mass deportations that occurred in the second decade of the twentieth century in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Until this Saturday. On the Labor Day for tolerance and respect among peoples, US President Joe Biden affirmed that “the American people honor all Armenians who died in the genocide that began 106 years ago.” The United States added to the list of 30 countries that recognize it.

That was one of his campaign promises. Exactly a year ago, on what the United States knows as Memorial Day of the Armenian Genocide, Biden promised that he would recognize him when he got to the White House. The previous one Donald Trump He avoided doing so and called it “one of the worst mass atrocities of the twentieth century”. As for Barack ObamaBiden, who was Vice President, was accurate in the word. Although he promised to do so while running for the White House, the former Democratic president ended his second term with a similar formula to the Republican formula. He described it as “the first mass atrocity.”

This Saturday, Biden scored a break. “Every year, on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman era from the Armenian genocide, and we renew our commitment to prevent such atrocities from happening again,” he said in a statement. In doing so, he became the first US president to say so officially The massacre and deportation of at least 1.5 million Armenians, which began on April 24, 1915 in the former Ottoman EmpireIt was genocide. “We honor victims Meds change (The Armenian term for genocide) so that history does not waste the horrors of what happened. We remember to remain vigilant forever against the devastating impact of hate in all its forms, ”the document adds.

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In the statement, Biden also referred to the Armenian diaspora community, especially the Armenian-American community living in the North American country that for years heard Washington’s promises of recognition without an effective response. Within decades, Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless waysBut they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their history. We see this pain. We confirm the date. We are not doing this to distribute the blame, but to make sure that what happened will never be repeated, ”the president added.

Biden also called for looking to the future, towards “a world that cannot be tolerated by the daily evils of intolerance, a world in which human rights are respected and in which all people can continue their lives with dignity and security.” And ended the statement, calling for the renewal of “the decision to prevent future atrocities anywhere in the world” and “seek healing and reconciliation.”

The confession came a day after the US President had a telephone conversation Recep Tayyip Erdogan, His counterpart from the Republic Turkey, The successor state to the Ottoman Empire. According to information released by the White House regarding the conversation, Biden expressed interest in “a constructive bilateral relationship, with broadening areas of cooperation and effective handling of differences.” They also agreed to hold a meeting within the framework of the NATO summit next June to discuss a wide range of regional and bilateral issues.

In the official statement released after the call, the administration did not mention any progress from Biden on its plans to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. However, sources familiar with the call told The Associated Press US President Erdogan has informed the document that he will release on Saturday.

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The United States’ longstanding refusal to describe the massacre as genocide is closely linked to Turkey’s privileged ally status as a member of NATO. This Saturday’s statement was limited to mentioning the times of the Ottoman Empire without referring to the present republic. Ankara officially recognizes the “tragic experience” of the Armenians, but denies the number of victims and, above all, rejects the genocide figure..

Biden’s statement also came after several requests from members of the US Congress for the president to recognize “clearly and directly” the Armenian Genocide. Last month38 Senators sent him a letter asking the White House to use this classification for facts, The suit was repeated this week.

It is not the first time that Congress has acted on the issue due to inaction by the executive branch. In 2019, as Trump remained in office, the Senate issued a statement recognizing the genocide. At the time, Ankara responded that the measure threatened “the future of bilateral relations,” and the Foreign Ministry was quick to clarify that the parliamentary procedure did not characterize the country’s foreign policy.

This time there was also a response from Turkey. “We don’t have to learn anything from anyone about our past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice. “We totally reject this statement based solely on populism,” he said in a tweet on Twitter. Mevlüt ÇavuşoluTurkish Foreign Minister.

As for Armenia, on the other hand, the recognition of the United States is excellent news. “this means The end of a long history of denial. For me, this means that the United States stands on the side of justice and human rights, and for me personally, it means that justice will triumph and humanity will triumph. “ Faroozan NarsianThe Armenian ambassador in Washington speaks to CNN.

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Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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