US President Joe Biden on Sunday commemorated the 107th anniversary of the “Armenian genocide”an episode that he described as “extermination campaign”
Biden issued a statement honoring the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians “who were deported, massacred or forced to march to death during this campaign of extermination.”
The statement does not mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Biden has also called genocide. Still, he used the date to lay down principles of US foreign policy, at a time when various countries send weapons to Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia.
“We renew our commitment to remain vigilant against the corrosive effects of hate in all its forms”, indicated the president. “We recommit to raising our voices and stopping the atrocities that leave lasting scars around the world,” he added.
In 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople, now Istanbul. Biden’s statement highlights that this event on April 24 marked the beginning of the Armenian genocide.
Last year, fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden first used the term “genocide” to commemorate the event. In the past, the United States has refused to use the word so as not to offend Turkey, which is a member of NATO.
In Armenia, political forces have commemorated the anniversary with a call for recognition of the genocide and historical memory. “We are convinced that if people had condemned the Armenian Genocide in time, more cases would have been prevented”lamented the country’s president, Vahagn Khachaturyan, in statements collected by Armen Press.
scandal in uruguay
Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, unleashed a national and international scandal in Uruguay after being recorded making a gesture related to a Turkish ultra-nationalist group to a group of Armenian demonstrators protesting his visit. The reprehensible episode happened at the exit of the inauguration of the Embassy of Turkey in Uruguay, in the Plaza Matriz of Montevideo, when Çavuşoğlu, who held a meeting with his Uruguayan counterpart, Francisco Bustillo, last Saturday, passed with his official vehicle in front of the activists.
As can be seen in the video released by the Armenian Cause Council of Uruguay group, The Turkish Foreign Minister made the sign of the Turkish far-right and ultra-nationalist organization the Gray Wolves with his hand. This paramilitary organization denies the existence of the Armenian genocide and was banned in 2020 by European countries such as Austria and France after attacks by its members against the local Armenian community.
(with information from AP and EP)
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