President Biden, in his statement acknowledging and formally recognizing the 1915-23 massacres of Armenians as genocide, went where no president since Ronald Reagan has gone — and where many have been scared away from.
As Zartonk Media was informed from the press service of the White House, the statement runs as follows,
“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. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.
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.
Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security. Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us pursue healing and reconciliation for all the people of the world.
The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.”
Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both avoided using the word genocide to avoid angering Ankara.
But Biden has determined that relations with Turkey and its President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — which have deteriorated over the past several years anyway — should not prevent the use of a term that would validate the plight of Armenians more than a century ago and signal a commitment to human rights today.
The United States and its presidents have consistently avoided using the term genocide to describe the massacre of over 1.5 million Armenians. But as a candidate, Biden said that if he were elected, “I pledge to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and will make universal human rights a top priority for my administration.”
But similar pledges have gone unfulfilled before. When Obama was running for president, he declared in a lengthy statement that he shared “with Armenian Americans — so many of whom are descended from genocide survivor — a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide.”
In 2019, the Senate passed a resolution formally recognizing the mass killings of Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as genocide.