The Turkish president said that Biden’s statement opened a ‘deep wound’ in bilateral relations between NATO allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced US President Joe Biden recognition of Armenian genocide is “unfounded” and harmful to bilateral relations.
Mr. Biden’s historic declaration on Saturday at the commemoration of the tragic events of 1915-17 angered US NATO ally Turkey, claiming that the declaration opened a “wound. deep “in a relationship that is already strained because of many problems.
In a televised speech on Monday, Erdogan said a “wrong step” would hamper relations and said Turkey still seeks to establish a “good neighbor” relationship with Armenia.
“The US president has made unfair and unfounded comments,” Erdogan said.
“We believe these comments were included in the statement after pressure from radical Armenian and anti-Turkish groups. But this situation does not diminish the destructive impact of these comments.
Armenians – aided by historians and scholars – say 1.5 million of their people died in a “genocide” under the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Ankara accepts that both Armenians and Turks died in large numbers when the Ottomans fought the tsar.
But Turkey vehemently denied the intentional genocide policy and noted that the term was not legally defined at the time.
Biden has tried to calm Turkey’s expected rage by calling Erdogan for the first time since taking office in January.
The two leaders agreed in Friday’s phone call to meet on the sidelines of the June NATO summit.
But on Monday, Erdogan said that Biden needed a “mirror” in calling centuries-long events a genocide.
“Native Americans, I don’t even have to mention them, what happened is obvious,” he said, referring to the treatment of Native Americans of European settlers.
“Even though all these facts are out there, you cannot make genocide charges against the Turkish people.”
Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, DC, said that “historically, this has been done for about 40 years as successive presidents promised to make this declaration and then learn as they did. also incumbents that for strategic interests, it may not be in the best interest of the United States to do so.
“That dynamic has changed. The feeling in America is that it was a result of a Turkish action, not a US action that led to this claim, ”said Halkett.
She added that the US administration sees Turkey as a NATO partner but believes that Turkey has not always responded.
Biden’s statement comes at a time when Ankara and Washington are having difficulty fixing relations, tense as Turkey purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, leading to US sanctions, policy differences in Syria and legal issues.
Erdogan said he expected to “open the door to a new era” in relations and discussed any disputes with Biden at the NATO summit in June, but warned that relations would be bad. Go further unless the allies can avert the problem.
“Now we need to put aside our disagreements and consider what steps we can take, otherwise we have no choice but to do what is required by us,” he said. the extent to which our relationship dropped on April 24, ”he said.