April 25, 2021
Supporters of Turkey carrying a sign that reads prominent historian Bernard Lewis’ quote “Armenian allegations are an outright falsehood” face off with Armenian supporters outside the Turkish Embassy, Washington, D.C., U.S., April 24, 2021. (AFP Photo)
By Anadolu Agency
ANKARA – The Turkic Council deplored the statement by U.S. President Joe Biden on the events of 1915, saying it harms the hopes of regional cooperation and stability.
“I am very saddened by the statement of the U.S. President regarding the events of 1915, which clearly bears political motivations at the expense of historical facts and damaging the hopes of cooperation and stability in the region,” the council’s secretary-general, Baghdad Amreyev, said in a written statement Saturday.
He said a “transparent and fair” study about the events of 1915 is needed, with international law and relevant documents applied, not a trial or conviction of countries and their people by parliaments and administrations of third countries.
“Weaponization of distorted historical allegations toward another country could only play into the hands of those willing to fan the feelings of hatred, revenge and enmity among the societies,” he said.
“While denouncing the statement of U.S. President, I believe that distortion of history with political ends or attempts to ‘rewrite history’ and its use for political pressure will only beget further polarization among countries and peoples that will hinder peace and stability in our region,” he added.
Earlier Saturday, Biden called the events of 1915 a “genocide,” breaking American presidents’ long-held tradition of refraining from using the term.
Amreyev also hailed Turkey’s initiative to establish a joint historical commission to study the events of 1915 and open its archives as a “brave and commendable” constructive approach.
Turkish stance on events of 1915
Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as a “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.
In 2014, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.