The statement of President Joe Biden did not mention the Russian invasion in Ukraine which Biden called a genocide.
President Joe Biden on Sunday commemorated the 107th anniversary of the start of the “Armenian genocide,” issuing a statement in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians “who were deported, massacred or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination” by Ottoman Empire forces. Turkey said Biden’s declaration was ”incompatible with historical facts and international law.”
Biden’s statement didn’t mention the Russian invasion in Ukraine which Biden called a genocide. Biden nonetheless used the anniversary to set out principles for foreign policy, as the United States and its allies arm Ukraine and impose sanctions against Russia.
“We renew our pledge to remain vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms,” the president said. “We recommit ourselves to speaking out and stopping atrocities that leave lasting scars on the world.”
Ottoman officials in Istanbul, which is now Constantinople, arrested Armenian intellectuals, community leaders, and other members of the Ottoman government in 1915. Biden’s statement states that this incident occurred on April 24, which was the start of the genocide.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden used the term “genocide” for the first time during last year’s anniversary. Past White Houses had avoided that word for decades out of a concern that Turkey — a NATO member — could be offended.
Biden’s Sunday declaration angered the Turkish government, as it was last summer.
“Statements that are incompatible with historical facts and international law regarding the events of 1915 are not valid,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Turkey admits that many people died during that time, but says the death toll was exaggerated, that civil unrest caused the deaths, and that Muslim Turks were also among those who were killed.
Separately, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Twitter accused some Western leaders of “hypocrisy” for arguing in relation to Russia’s actions in Ukraine that the term “genocide” can only be determined by court decisions.
While Biden has said it would be up to lawyers to decide if Russia’s conduct met the international standard of genocide, Biden has not been shy about condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for pursuing genocide.