Democrats praise Biden for recognizing Armenian genocide

Greg Nash

Democrats praised President Biden on Saturday after he recognized the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as a “genocide.”

Biden’s declaration was not only the fulfillment of a campaign promise but also an announcement that bipartisan administrations had refrained from making. 

“[O]ur hearts are full of joy that President Biden has taken the historic step of joining Congress with formal recognition on Armenian Genocide Day,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “History teaches us that if we ignore its darkest chapters, we are destined to witness the horrors of the past be repeated.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “For Armenian-Americans and everyone who believes in human rights and the truth, today marks an historic milestone: President Biden has defied Turkish threats and recognized the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians for what it was – the first genocide of the 20th Century. In so doing, he has cast aside decades of shameful silence and half-truths, and the broken promises of so many of his predecessors, and spoken truth to power.”

Lawmakers cast Biden’s announcement as long overdue given that the massacre happened over a century ago. 

“Finally, after 100 years, the US is on the right side of history thanks to @POTUS declaring that what happened to the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottomans was in fact a genocide. Honored to join my colleagues today to praise this historic announcement. #ArmenianGenocide,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) tweeted.

While Biden’s decision drew plaudits from lawmakers, it has the potential to complicate Washington’s relationship with Turkey.

Ankara has always denied that the massacre amounted to a genocide and swiftly denounced Biden’s announcement on Saturday.

“We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the US regarding the events of 1915 made under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups on 24 April,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“This statement of the US, which distorts the historical facts, will never be accepted in the conscience of the Turkish people, and will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship,” it said.

Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are set to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels in June.

Tags Adam Schiff Armenian Genocide Armenian Genocide recognition Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Armenia–Turkey relations Joe Biden Judy Chu Nancy Pelosi

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