WASHINGTON, April 24. /TASS/. US President Joe Biden has recognized the events in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century as "Armenian genocide," despite the fact that his predecessors avoided using the term.
"Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring," Biden said in a statement released on Saturday to commemorate the victims.
"Of those who survived, most were forced to find new homes and new lives around the world, including in the United States. With strength and resilience, the Armenian people survived and rebuilt their community. Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated," the US president added.
"The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today," Biden concluded.
The former US President, Republican Donald Trump, avoided using the word ‘genocide’ in his statements related to the 1915 events. Barack Obama, the US president under whom Biden served as vice president in 2009-2017, evaded the term as well. In 2019, US Congress passed the first ever resolution designating the 1915 tragedy in the Ottoman Empire as Armenian genocide. That sparked strong criticism from Ankara.
About 2.5 million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire before the First World War. According to various estimates, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians died in 1915 as a result of deportation and systematic killings. The Turkish government acknowledges the fact of mass deaths of Armenians, but rejects the term ‘genocide,’ saying the number of victims given by the Armenian side was exaggerated.
According to Ankara, the death of Armenians was not due to a targeted policy by the government, but came as a result of a civil war in the Ottoman Empire, which also claimed the lives of Turks.