The president of the United States , Joe Biden, plans to recognize this coming Saturday the Armenian genocide , which occurred in 1915 on the Anatolian peninsula when the Ottoman Empire still existed , several US media reported this Thursday. Many American presidents had made the same promise to acknowledge the killings during their respective election campaigns , but never before had any of them done so.
This time it seems different, because in 2019, at a time of tension between Washington and Ankara , both the Senate and the US House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the genocide , something that angered Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan .
According to Turkey – a country that was founded in 1923 under the ashes of the Ottoman Empire – what happened in Anatolia in 1915 cannot be considered a genocide, but were massacres in all directions in the context of the First World War, in which both Armenians like Greeks and Turks – all Ottoman citizens – died.
However, the consensus among international experts is that there was indeed a genocide against Armenians, who were, historians say, persecuted especially for their ethnic origin . It is estimated that before 2015, about one million Armenians lived on the Anatolian peninsula , who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire.
The vast majority were expelled to the deserts in the south of the region, in present-day Iraq and Syria . Hundreds of thousands died and now, today, there are only about 60,000 Armenians left in Turkey, the vast majority in Istanbul .
Joe Biden, according to the ‘New York Times’ , which cites anonymous sources within the White House , has already decided to make the recognition this coming Saturday which, in addition, is a special date: April 24 is considered the day of anniversary of the Armenian genocide .
“At the moment, we have nothing more to add. There will be something to say on Saturday, ”White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday .
At the moment, a total of 32 countries in the world recognize this genocide. Among them are Russia, Armenia, Syria, Uruguay, Venezuela, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Argentina and Belgium, among others. Spain has not done so, although it is recognized by the regional parliaments of Catalonia , Aragon, Navarra, the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands.
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The US must respect international law. Statements that do not have any legal obligation do not have any benefit. They only damage ties. If they want to damage our relations, the decision is theirs, “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu said on ‘Habertürk’ television on Wednesday . Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952.
The Erdogan government, in recent days, has launched a media campaign to counter what seems almost definitive statement by Biden this Saturday. The Turkish president, however, has not yet mentioned a word.