April 24 (Reuters) – Following are reactions to the statement by U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday formally recognising the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The historic declaration could further damage frayed ties with NATO ally Turkey.
TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT
“We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the US regarding the events of 1915 made under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups… It is clear that the said statement does not have a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence.
“This statement …will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship. We call on the US President to correct this grave mistake”
MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER
“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.”
TURKISH PRESIDENT TAYYIP ERDOGAN, IN A LETTER TO THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE, SAHAK II MASHALIAN, BEFORE THE RELEASE OF BIDEN’S STATEMENT
“The politicization of the discussions that should be held by historians and used as a tool of intervention against our country by third parties has benefited no one. I believe that it is a great injustice against the new generations to build our identity on the pains marked on our souls by the past.”
ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER NIKOL PASHINYAN, IN A LETTER TO BIDEN
“The people of Armenia and Armenians all over the world perceived with great enthusiasm and welcomed your message … The acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide is important not only as a tribute paid to the 1.5 million innocent victims, but also in terms of preventing the recurrence of similar crimes against mankind.”
GARO PAYLAN, ARMENIAN MP IN TURKISH PARLIAMENT
“When Turkey confronts the Armenian genocide, it will no longer matter what other countries or parliaments have to say … We need to bring the pain of the Armenian people, to the land where it belongs, to Turkey. We have to face the pain of the Armenian people and we must relieve this pain through justice. The Armenian people are waiting for justice.”
WOLFANGO PICCOLI, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CONSULTANCY TENEO INTELLIGENCE, ON TWITTER
“US President Joe Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide marks a new low point in bilateral ties (with Turkey) and will trigger a furious verbal response from Ankara. Retaliatory measures, if any, are likely to be short-lived and generally non-material. In the best-case scenario US Turkey ties will remain distant, transactional and inherently prone to friction.”
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, Tuvan Gumrukcu and Maria Tsvetkova Editing by Frances Kerry)