Biden Recognizes Atrocities Against Armenians as Genocide

Armenia

Armenia

People take part in a procession to commemorate the 106th anniversary of mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in Yerevan, Armenia April 23, 2021.

Greek City Times were were live in Sydney to cover the event taking place on the same day where it is expected Joe Biden will become the first U.S. President to recognise the Ottoman-Turkish perpetrated genocide.

In Armenia on Saturday, people streamed to the hilltop complex in Yerevan, the capital, that memorializes the victims.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately hit back, accusing "third parties" of interfering in Turkey's affairs.

'President Biden spoke today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conveying his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective management of disagreements, ' the White House said.

Erdogan on Thursday told advisors "to defend the truth against those who back the so-called "Armenian genocide" lie". The two also agreed to hold a bilateral meeting at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels in June.

Kalin and Sullivan's phone conversation was not the only one in which officials spoke after Erdogan and Biden's phone call.

Asked if an Armenian genocide statement was coming, State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters yesterday to "expect an announcement tomorrow".

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Biden took office vowing to put a new focus on human rights and democracy in the wake of his volatile predecessor Donald Trump, who befriended authoritarians and, despite breaking plenty of foreign policy precedents, declined to recognise the Armenian genocide. An estimated 2 million Armenians were deported and 1.5 million were killed in the events known as Metz Yeghern.

Turkish pressure has not stopped some major countries, such as France and Germany, from declaring the episode to have been genocide, but many states have held back from fully official recognition. Starting with Uruguay in 1965, nations including France, Germany, Canada and Russian Federation have recognized the genocide but a United States statement has been a paramount goal that proved elusive under other presidents until Biden. Despite decades of lobbying by the Armenian-American community, successive USA presidents have skirted the controversy out of worry about a rupture with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier this week that Biden's recognition of the killings as genocide would harm relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"If the United States wants to worsen ties, the decision is theirs", he said. "But this is the only way towards reconciliation and to lasting peace between countries", the MEP said.

Biden's statement was also expected to heighten appeals from Armenia for greater United States support against Turkish-backed neighbor Azerbaijan, which previous year humiliated Armenia by taking back swathes of territory seized in the 1990s.

The much anticipated phone call took place more than three months after Biden's January 20 inauguration, a delay that is widely seen as a cold shoulder to Erdogan, who had enjoyed close ties with former President Donald Trump. The call was described by the person familiar as "tense". His administration has also criticised homophobic statements from those close to Erdogan. In recent years, Turkey has launched military operations against PKK enclaves in northern Iraq and against USA -allied Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The US Congress in 2019 voted overwhelmingly to recognize the Armenian genocide but the Trump administration made clear that nothing had changed.

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