On Saturday, the White House released its annual statement on the events of 1915 titled: “Statement by President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day”. In the statement, US President Joe Biden defined the relocation of the Ottoman Armenian population in 1915 as a ‘genocide’, marking the first time a US president has defined the events as such since Woodrow Wilson.
The use of the terminology was expected by many in social media and news outlets, with many expecting the issue to be addressed during the phone call conducted between Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Friday evening. However, statements after the first bilateral phone call between the two leaders suggest otherwise, as no mention of the topic was made.
Reactions from Turkey have quickly emerged, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry rejecting and denouncing “in the strongest terms” the statement of the US President. The statement further reads that Biden’s definition of the events of 1915 as a ‘genocide’ was made “under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups on 24 April” and that it does not possess any scholarly and legal basis.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also reacted to the White House statement on Twitter. In his tweet, Çavuşoğlu emphasized that Turkey has nothing to learn from anybody, with regards to its own past. Furthermore, the foreign minister rejected the statement, indicating that it is based solely on populistic thinking. The Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın also condemned the statement, saying that this only repeats “the slander of circles that have an agenda against Turkey”.