Biden described the century-long massacre of Armenians as a “genocide.” Turkey is not reacting well.


“We have nothing to learn from anyone in our past,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted. “Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal of peace and justice.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador in Ankara to protest Biden’s statement. Most of the major political parties in the country, Including opponents The right-wing nationalist government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the American decision.

This step reflects the new US administration’s desire to be more forthright – and consistently – Advocating for human rights on the world stage. Biden framed it as an affirmation of the trauma that generations of Armenian immigrants have had to the United States. “We remember the lives of all those who died in the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman era and we reiterate our commitment to prevent such atrocities from happening again,” he said in his Saturday statement, which was carefully prepared to avoid blaming the modern Turks. Republic. He referred to the “extermination campaign” launched by the Ottoman authorities, in which “one and a half million Armenians were deported, slaughtered or the rest of them to death.”

The Armenian Genocide is very close to the moment Turkey was conceived and closely linked to the founding of the republic, Howard Eisenstat tweeted, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History at Saint Lawrence University. “Accepting it requires fundamentally rethinking the creation narrative at the core of Turkish nationalism.”

But it is impossible to ignore the specific experience of the Armenians. “In 1913, there were as many as 2 million [ethnic Armenians] In the Ottoman Empire. When World War I broke out, the Ottoman government ordered their mass deportations. After a few years, there was only a tenth of that number in Turkey, and the rest were either exiled or killed, “as British author and journalist Thomas de Waal wrote in his book,”A Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide. ”

Raphael Lemkin, Polish-Jewish jurist Who coined the term “genocide”, His thinking about what constituted such a crime against humanity was partly based on his understanding of what happened to the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. McCain, “genocide.” included “A coordinated plan for various actions aimed at destroying the basic foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of eliminating the groups themselves.”

Contemporary American accounts of the massacres made clear the “coordinated” nature of the destruction of Armenian communities, which influential figures in the Ottoman leadership considered a potential fifth column of betrayal within the empire as they clashed with Russia during World War I (Turkish officials, meanwhile, want to see International condemnation similar to the killing of Russia Turks, Kurds and other Muslims at the time).

“Reports from widely dispersed regions indicate systematic attempts to uproot the peaceful Armenian population and through arbitrary arrests, horrific torture, mass expulsions and deportations from one side of the empire to the other, accompanied by repeated cases of rape, looting and murder, which turned into massacres, to bring destruction and want on them, Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, He wrote in the telegram of 1915. “These measures are not a response to popular or fanatical demands, but they are purely arbitrary and directed from Constantinople in the name of military necessity, often in areas where military operations are unlikely to take place.”

Jesse Jackson, US Consul in Aleppo (now in Syria), Notified in 1916 He died in great numbers on a plain outside the city, what he saw as Armenians forced on long marches from Anatolia. “The information obtained allows me immediately to say that approximately 60,000 Armenians were buried there, due to hunger, deprivation of all kinds, intestinal diseases and typhus which were the result,” he wrote. “As far as Al Ain can reach mounds containing 200 to 300 bodies buried in the ground … Women, children and the elderly belong to different families.”

“In past years, the Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Ministry’s Office of European and Eurasian Affairs advised presidents not to describe the atrocities as genocide,” Inform my colleagues. But US officials, especially at the Pentagon, were angry with Erdogan over his purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which they say is incompatible with NATO military equipment and poses a threat to the security of the alliance.

US officials also believe that Erdogan has less influence than he has in the past. “The general feeling within the US government is that Erdogan responds better to Putin-style toughness than warm hugs.” Soner Cagaptay Books, Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Meanwhile, Erdogan is outside options that would help accommodate the Biden administration. With Reduced rejection rate at home It is unlikely that Erdogan will agree to reduce his autocratic control of Turkish society, fearing an already vigilant opposition will erupt and vote in his favor.

In the end, the political price for Biden was not that high. “The deterioration of the US-Turkish alliance in recent years helped facilitate President Biden’s decision to recognize the genocide, as it removed a political obstacle to recognition,” Murphy Tahiroglu, a Turkish researcher on the Middle East Democracy Project, told Today. Cosmic vision. “The very deliberate wording of Biden’s statement shows that the president was careful not to arm this history against Turkey, despite the widespread disdain for Erdogan in Washington.”

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