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Erdogan calls on Biden to reverse calling mass killings of Armenians a genocide




Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on President Joe Biden to immediately reverse his declaration that 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, a move he said was upsetting and diminished bilateral ties.

Biden’s historic declaration on Saturday has infuriated its NATO ally Turkey, which has said the announcement had opened a “deep wound” in relations that have already been strained over a host of issues.

READ MORE: US President formally recognises Armenian Genocide as Australian PM falls short on remembrance.

In his first comments since Biden’s statement, Erdogan said “the wrong step” would hinder ties and advised the United States to “look in the mirror,” adding Turkey still sought to establish “good neighbourly” ties with Armenia.

“The US president has made baseless, unjust and untrue remarks about the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago,” Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting, and repeated a call for Turkish and Armenian historians to form a joint commission to investigate the events. “I hope the US President will turn back from this wrong step as soon as possible.”

He also slammed the US for having failed to find a solution to the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh – where the United States, Russia and France were mediators – and said Washington had stood by as massacres unfolded.

READ MORE: Greece launches peace initiative for Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict.

“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,” he said, in reference to the treatment of Native Americans by European settlers. “While all these truths are out there, you cannot pin the genocide accusation on the Turkish people.”

Archived footage of the genocide. Photo: Wikipedia commons.

Turkey supported Baku in the conflict last year, in which Azeri forces seized swaths of lands in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Biden’s statement came at a time when Ankara and Washington have been struggling to repair ties, strained when Turkey purchased Russian defense systems resulting in US sanctions; policy differences in Syria; and legal matters.

Erdogan said he expected to “open the door for a new period” in ties and discuss all disputes with Biden at a NATO summit in June, but warned that ties would deteriorate further unless the allies can compartmentalise issues.

“We now need to put aside our disagreements and look at what steps we can take from now on, otherwise we will have no choice but to do what is required by the level our ties have fallen to on April 24,” he said.

READ MORE: The Armenian Genocide – 10 Things That You Need to Know.

Greek, Armenian and Assyrian communities march for recognition of the genocide:

Erdogan’s move to criticise Biden comes just two days after the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian communities marched together in Sydney and Melbourne for the very first time to push for the recognition of all three genocides by the Australian Government.

READ MORE: Greek, Armenian and Assyrian communities march for recognition of the genocide.

In Sydney, the march set off from the historic Domain parkland before wounding its way past NSW Parliament House and stopping at the Armenian Genocide Monument outside St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. Three wreaths were laid by six young ladies, representing the three peoples who endured the crime of genocide. The march then wound through Hyde Park to Sydney Town Hall.

President of Pontoxeniteas Sydney, Maria Anthony, said it was a great turn out, one that would make “our ancestors… so proud.”

“We were the voice they didn’t have, we are the freedom they didn’t have and we will be the ones that will get the justice they all deserve,” Mrs Anthony said.

Source: Reuters / The Greek Herald.

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