Biden preparing to recognize the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks

Washington-President Joe Biden is preparing to formally admit that the systematic killing and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in modern Turkey over a century ago was a genocide. ..

The expected move that Biden has promised to do as a candidate could further complicate the already tense relationship with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As of Wednesday, officials had not notified Turkey, and Biden was still able to change his mind, according to one official. US officials discussed internal deliberations on condition of anonymity.

Parliamentarians and Armenian-American activists are urging Biden to make an announcement on or before the Armenian Genocide Anniversary, which will be marked on Saturday.

President Joe Biden will leave after talking about COVID-19 vaccination at the White House in Washington on April 21, 2021.

President Joe Biden will leave after talking about COVID-19 vaccination at the White House in Washington on April 21, 2021.

One possibility is for Biden to include genocide approval in the annual Memorial Day declaration normally issued by the President. Biden’s predecessors have avoided using “genocide” in declarations commemorating the dark moments of history.

A bipartisan group of over 100 house members on Wednesday Signed a letter to Biden He called on him to become the first US president to formally recognize World War I atrocities as genocide. California Democrat Adam Schiff led the letter.

“The shameful silence of the US government on the historical facts of the Armenian genocide was too long, and it must end,” the lawmakers wrote. “We encourage you to carry out your promises and tell the truth.”

Turkey’s foreign minister warned the Biden administration that the approval would “harm” US-Turkish relations.

Biden, as a candidate, marked last year’s anniversary by pledged to admit the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923, saying that “silence is an accomplice” if elected. He didn’t provide a timeline to fulfill his promise.

White House spokesman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that the president needs to speak more on Saturday on this anniversary.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal first reported that Biden was preparing to admit a genocide.

If Biden follows through, he will almost certainly face a backlash from Turkey. Turkey has successfully pressured the former president to avoid this problem.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mebrut Chabsogur claimed earlier this week that he was not concerned about the decisions Biden could make, but also suggested that such a move would be subject to harsh reactions.

“If the United States wants to worsen our relationship, it’s up to them,” he said in an interview with Turkey’s HaberTurk news channel.

Relations between the US and Turkey are cold

The relationship between Biden and Erdogan is off to a chilly start. More than three months after he took office, Biden hasn’t talked to him yet.

The relationship between Ankara and Washington, once considered strategic partners, is due to differences in cooperation with Russia in Syria and Turkey, and the Turkish Navy’s intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean, which U.S. officials have recently described as destabilizing. , Has been steadily deteriorating in recent years.

President Donald Trump will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on November 13, 2019.

President Donald Trump will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on November 13, 2019.

During last year’s campaign, Biden got angry with Turkish authorities after an interview with the New York Times, who spoke of supporting Turkey’s opposition to “dictator” Erdogan. Still, Turkey wanted to reset the relationship. Prime Minister Erdogan enjoyed a warm relationship with former President Donald Trump, who did not speak on Turkey’s human rights records.

“So far, the twist of the arm from Turkey has said,’We are very good friends, so we should be solid about this.’ We have launched a campaign to encourage Biden to admit the genocide.” , Prove that they are not so good friends. “

Hamparian said he expected Biden to follow through. He said the stings of former President Barack Obama, who did not follow the 2008 campaign, admit that the Armenian genocide still remains in many of the Armenian diasporas.

Samantha Power, who was Obama’s UN ambassador and was appointed by Biden as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, expressed disappointment that Obama did not address the issue. Obama was concerned that it would strain relations with Turkey, a NATO member that needs cooperation in military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.

Power said in a 2018 interview with Pod Save the World that the administration was “played a bit” by Erdogan, and others invested in delaying the declaration of the genocide.

Biden sought to send a message that the United States called for human rights abuses and would be of greater help in promoting democratic norms under his supervision. It is a departure from Trump, who found relationships with dictators such as Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Erdogan.

Still, Biden remained in Mohammed, Saudi Arabia, even after the announcement of U.S. intelligence findings that the Crown Prince approved an operation to kill or capture U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi early in the president.・ I faced criticism that I did not take any direct action against Bin Salman. .. He has also been criticized for not following his accusations that China has suppressed Uighurs and other minorities in western China with more severe actions.

Gonul Tol, director of the Turkish program at the Middle East Institute in Washington, said Prime Minister Erdogan’s leverage could be reduced and the Turkish economy suffering, which could curb the reaction of Turkish leaders.

“Biden has spoken out about human rights abuses in countries around the world, including Turkey, but that’s not far beyond his rhetoric,” Thor said. “This is an opportunity for him to confront human rights with lower interests.”

Istanbul Associated Press writer Susan Fraser contributed to the report.

This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Officials: Biden may allow Ottoman genocide of Armenians