The Armenian Council of America welcomes President Biden’s affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Turkish Empire systematically sought to eliminate its indigenous Armenian population, killing more than 75% of Armenian populace (1.5 million in number). The remaining population were forcefully driven from their ancestral homes and subjected to brutal death marches in the deserts of Syria.

Genocide recognition by Turkey’s NATO allies is imperative today, due to the continued and systematic persecution of ethnic Armenians by the Turkish and Azerbaijani regimes. In late September of last year, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and their extremist mercenary allies with ties to ISIS, launched an unprecedented war against the Republic of Artsakh and its ethnic Armenian defense force.

This unprovoked attack, ordered by Azerbaijan’s dictator, Ilham Aliyev, with the use of internationally banned phosphorous weapons and cluster munitions, claimed thousands of Armenian lives, maimed tens of thousands of innocent civilians and young soldiers, destroyed numerous villages, cultural centers, schools, and hospitals.

Today, Azerbaijan unlawfully holds over two hundred ethnic Armenian civilians and soldiers as prisoners of war, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Turkey and Azerbaijan continue their cultural war against the Armenian nation by engaging in the aggressive destruction of ancient Armenian historical, cultural and religious monuments and structures, some of which are classified by UNESCO as protected heritage sites.

Since the founding of Jamestown, Armenian Americans have played an integral role in the fabric of American life. Armenia is a small nation today, but the contributions of its descendants living in the United States have been prolific throughout the centuries. This commitment to the United States demonstrates shared values of liberty, freedom and democracy. These same values, enshrined at the founding of this great nation, continue to be upheld by the Biden administration.

We encourage President Biden and his administration to bolster efforts towards the growth and development of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, and lead the OSCE Minsk group’s efforts in establishing a lasting peaceful solution to the Artsakh conflict based on the right to self-determination.

We are optimistic that President Biden’s affirmation of the Armenian Genocide is a step towards the return of value driven and principled American foreign policy with unwavering support for universal human rights. As such, rogue regimes such as Turkey and Azerbaijan, who have systematically violated international laws, committed war-crimes, supported domestic extremism, and suppressed internal democracy, must face economic sanctions.

We thank President Biden for joining the Armenian American community, Armenians around the world, and all people of good will in properly honoring the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

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