Biden remembers Armenian genocide, Turkey slams ‘worthless opportunist politicians’

“We reject these statements, which we consider null and void, and condemn in the strongest terms those who persist in this mistake,” a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry read.

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US President Joe Biden commemorated the Armenian genocide of 1915 on Monday, praising the “resilience” of the Armenian people, but drawing a swift condemnation from Turkey.

Two years ago, Biden became the first US president to recognize the genocide despite persistent lobbying against the move from NATO ally Turkey.

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Armenia says the genocide took place beginning in 1915. Turkey, meanwhile, admits that Armenians were killed but denies that it was genocide.

“Today, we pause to remember the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern—the Armenian genocide— and renew our pledge to never forget,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.

He recalled that Ottoman authorities arrested Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, “the start of a systematic campaign of violence against the Armenian community.”

Biden went on: “In the years that followed, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths—a tragedy that forever affected generations of Armenian families.”

The US president made a campaign pledge to recognize the genocide and, on Monday, vowed to ensure that such an atrocity “never again” takes place.

“So many of those who survived were forced to begin new lives in new lands—including the United States. Here and around the world, the Armenian people have met the evil of hate with hope,” Biden said.

Turkey blasted Biden’s decision to recognize the genocide two years ago, saying his statement had no legal basis and would “open a deep” wound in bilateral ties.

On Monday, Ankara launched a diatribe against “political charlatans,” adding that “those who insist on this biased approach will go down in history as worthless opportunist politicians.

“We reject these statements, which we consider null and void, and condemn in the strongest terms those who persist in this mistake. Turkey does not need to be lectured about its own history by anyone,” a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry read.

In recent years, the Biden administration has also tried to exert diplomatic efforts to resolve a yearslong land dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On Sunday, the State Department criticized Baku, backed by Turkey, for putting up a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor.

Azerbaijan has been blocking the Lachin corridor since December 2022, but Baku has claimed that environmental activists are the ones blocking the road due to what they say is illegal Armenian mining in the area.

The corridor is a vital road linking Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, the only route for food, medicine and fuel supplies. “The United States is deeply concerned that Azerbaijan’s establishment of a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor undermines efforts to establish confidence in the peace process,” the State Department said over the weekend. “We reiterate that there should be free and open movement of people and commerce on the Lachin corridor and call on the parties to resume peace talks and refrain from provocations and hostile actions along the border.”

Read more: Biden again describes past Armenian massacres as genocide

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