YEREVAN, April 25. /TASS/. Armenian President Armen Sarkissian thanked his US counterpart Joe Biden for his "courageous and inspiring act" of recognizing the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide on Saturday.
"Thank you, Mr President! Recognizing the Armenian genocide is a courageous and inspiring act. It’s Important for the Armenian nation and for all those who seek justice worldwide. It opens new prospects for US-Armenian relations. It also makes this world a better place!" Sarkissian said in a Twitter post.
In a written statement released on Saturday, US President Joe Biden recognized the events in the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century as "Armenian genocide," despite the fact that his predecessors refrained from using the term. The move triggered a wave of criticism from the Turkish government.
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, deaths of Armenians were not due to a targeted policy by the government, but came as a result of a civil war in the Ottoman Empire, which claimed the lives of Turks as well.