Erdoğan urges Biden to ‘turn back’ from ‘wrong step’ on Armenian genocide
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is calling on President Biden to reverse his decision to recognize the Armenian genocide at the end of World War I, calling it a “wrong step.”
“The U.S. President has made baseless, unjust and untrue remarks about the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago,” Erdoğan said following a Cabinet meeting, Reuters reported on Monday. “I hope the U.S. president will turn back from this wrong step as soon as possible.”
The Turkish leader said that Biden’s announcement had opened a “deep wound” in U.S.-Turkish relations, adding that Turkey still seeks “good neighborly” relations with Armenia.
“If you say genocide, then you need to look at yourselves in the mirror and make an evaluation. The Native Americans, I don’t even need to mention them, what happened is clear,” Erdoğan said. “While all these truths are out there, you cannot pin the genocide accusation on the Turkish people.”
Biden on Saturday became the first U.S. president to formally recognize the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide. Previous U.S. presidents have declined to do so in order to preserve relations with Turkey, a NATO ally.
“Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” Biden said in a statement.
The day before he announced his recognition, Biden spoke with Erdoğan over the phone and informed him of his plans.
According to the White House, Biden conveyed “his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective management of disagreements.”