Will Trump's government recognize the genocide of the Armenians?

US President Biden recognizes Armenian genocide

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Washington - US President Joe Biden has officially recognized the massacre of Armenia committed by the Ottoman Empire as "genocide". "The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today," said Biden in a message distributed by the White House on the commemoration of the Armenian genocide on Saturday. The declaration with which Biden fulfilled an election promise is likely to put a heavy strain on relations with Turkey.

Accordingly, efforts were made in Washington to limit the damage. A high-ranking US government representative emphasized on Saturday morning (local time) that Biden would work closely with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and would also meet him on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June.

Turkey is an important NATO partner and they want a strong relationship with Ankara, it said. Biden himself emphasized in his statement that it was not about "assigning blame", but about "ensuring that what happened never repeats itself". Biden had called Erdoğan on Friday. It was unclear whether he was already informing his Turkish counterpart of his intention to recognize the Armenian genocide.

At first, there was an unhappy reaction from Turkey. The US should "look at its own history first," said Ankara. The classification of the acts against the Armenians as genocide is firmly rejected. The only reason is "an agenda of hostility to our country".

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pachinyan wrote in a letter to Biden that his people had received the US declaration with "great enthusiasm".

Trump avoided the word genocide

As early as 2019, the US Congress recognized the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide and thus incurred the anger of Ankara. The administration of then US President Donald Trump then emphasized that the legally non-binding resolution did not change the attitude of the US government. Biden's predecessor Trump had spoken of "one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century", but - like other US presidents - avoided the word genocide out of consideration for its close ally, Turkey.

The Austrian National Council officially condemned the atrocities against the Armenians in April 2015 as genocide, which is why Ankara temporarily withdrew the ambassador from Vienna. Recognition of the atrocities as genocide by the German Bundestag in 2016 put a heavy strain on German-Turkish relations.

Macron at memorial event

Biden's French counterpart Emmanuel Macron had previously thought of the massacre of the Armenians. "The French people and the Armenian people are forever connected," said the 43-year-old on Saturday via Twitter. The head of state could be seen in pictures on the occasion of the "Remembrance Day for the Armenian Genocide" at the memorial in the center of the French capital.

Macron announced around two years ago that April 24 would be a national day of remembrance. As the AFP news agency reported, it was the first time that he took part in an official ceremony on Remembrance Day. There is a large Armenian diaspora in France.

During the First World War, Armenians were systematically persecuted and, among other things, sent on death marches into the Syrian desert. Historians speak of hundreds of thousands up to 1.5 million victims. As the successor to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey admits the deaths of 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians during the First World War and regrets the massacres. However, it strictly rejects classification as genocide.

During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was an ally of Austria-Hungary and the German Empire, who looked the other way during the mass murder of the Armenians. There were even supporters of genocide in the German army because the Armenians were accused of being on the side of Russia, the common enemy of the war. This fought with Great Britain and France against the three "Central Powers". (APA, April 24, 2021)