Turkey says it summoned the U.S. ambassador to Ankara to condemn President Joe Biden’s declaration that the World War I-era massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire constituted a genocide. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal told U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield late Saturday that Biden’s statement had no legal basis and that Ankara “rejected it, found it unacceptable and condemned [it] in the strongest terms.” The Ankara government said the United States, a NATO ally, had caused a “wound in ties that will be hard to repair.” Earlier Saturday, Biden became the first U.S. president to make the genocide declaration in connection with the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire — the predecessor to modern-day Turkey — between 1915 and 1923. Biden Recognizes Armenian Genocide a Century AgoHe’s first US president to recognize genocide committed against Armenians Armenians say they were purposely targeted for extermination through starvation, forced labor, deportation, death marches, and outright massacres. Turkey denies a genocide or any deliberate plan to wipe out the Armenians. It says many of the victims were casualties of the war or murdered by Russians. Turkey also says the number of Armenians killed was far fewer than the usually accepted figure of 1.5 million. Moments after Biden made his statement Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted, “Words cannot change or rewrite history. We will not take lessons from anyone on our history.” “Words cannot change or rewrite history.”
We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal to peace and justice.
We entirely reject this statement based solely on populism.#1915Events
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) Members of the Armenian diaspora rally in front of the Turkish Embassy after U.S. President Joe Biden recognized that the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide in Washington, Apr. 24, 2021.Cavusoglu said last week that Biden’s recognition of the killings as genocide would harm relations between the NATO allies.FILE – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a press conference in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 25, 2020.Cavusoglu said Saturday that Biden’s recognition “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.” “We call on the U.S. president to correct this grave mistake, which serves no purpose other than to satisfy certain political circles, and to support the efforts aiming to establish a practice of peaceful coexistence in the region, especially among the Turkish and Armenian nations, instead of serving the agenda of those circles that try to foment enmity from history,” Cavusoglu added.