ANKARA — Turkey “entirely rejects” President Joe Biden’s recognition of the1915 events as a genocide, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu said, minutes after Biden’s declaration.
“We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal to peace and justice,” Çavusoglu said on Twitter.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced the move in a statement: “We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the U.S. 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 U.S. President to correct this grave mistake.”
The Foreign ministry also said it summoned the US Ambassador to Ankara over President Biden’s statement, adding it had conveyed Turkey’s “strong reaction.”
The ministry said deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal has told US Ambassador David Satterfield that the statement had no legal basis and that Ankara “rejected it, found it unacceptable and condemned in the strongest terms.” It said the statement had caused a “wound in ties that will be hard to repair.”
Erdogan Says Turkey Ready to Enhance Relations with Armenia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey stands ready to enhance relations with Armenia “on the basis of good neighborhood and mutual respect.”
“I remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians, who lost their lives under the harsh conditions of the First World War, and offer my condolences to their grandchildren,” Erdogan said in a statement to Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Sahak Masalyan.
“We all are the members of the family of humanity regardless of our ethnic origin, religion, language or color. We have been living together in peace on these lands for centuries and feeling at peace under the shadow of our red crescent-star flag,” the Turkish President said.
“Our shared culture has flourished and developed with the Armenian community’s contributions to architecture, music and arts as well as with the knowledge and great efforts of many doctors, engineers, jurists, businesspeople and professional experts raised by the Armenian community,” he added.
“We cannot allow the culture of coexistence of Turks and Armenians, which has been continuing for ages and which set an example to the humanity, to be forgotten,” he continued.
Erdogan stressed that “no one has benefited from the discussions which in fact must be made by historians but have been politicized by third parties and turned into a tool of intervention against our country.”
“I believe that building our identity solely upon the pains left by the past to our souls is also a grave injustice to new generations. It is time for us to lay bare that we as Turks and Armenians have reached the maturity of overcoming all obstacles together,” he added.
Erdogan said he thanks Armenian citizens, “who are an inseparable part of our nation, for their sincere support to this struggle our country has been putting up.”