‘Biden’s remarks on 1915 events null and void’

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ANKARA

US President Joe Biden’s remarks on the events of 1915, which distorted historical facts under pressure from the radical Armenian lobby, are null and void, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Saturday.

“We strongly reject and condemn this statement, which reflects the slanders of those who are malicious and whose only agenda is hostile to our country,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.

Kalin emphasized that the so-called “genocide” allegations lack any basis or scholarly evidence as required by international law.

“When our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the establishment of a joint history commission to investigate the 1915 events, he wanted to save a historical issue from the shadow of politics and malicious circles. The US president ignored these facts and took an unfair attitude,” he said.

Kalin said historical events must be investigated by historians and these facts cannot be determined by the narrow interests of a political context.

He told Al Jazeera that many respected historians such as Bernard Lewis, Edward Erickson and Guenter Lewy have denied and rejected any claim of genocide.

Stressing that the word genocide was invented in 1948, he said the term could not be applied to events before 1948.

Kalin contended that the US administration unfortunately has succumbed to the pressure of the Armenian lobby.

”The statement by the US president politicizes historical facts for narrow political gains. This is really unfortunate,” he added.

 ‘Adapting mentality of radical Armenian lobbies is a grave mistake’

Stating that Turkey belongs to a civilization that represents the most important example in the history of the culture of coexistence, he said Turkey never shrinks from confronting historical reality.

“The losses experienced in World War I represent the shared pains of this region. However, it is a historical mistake to act with the mindset of radical Armenian lobbies that produce nothing but terror and hostility,” said Kalin.

Biden’s statement is based on unfounded allegations that threaten to damage normalization efforts between Turkey and Armenia, he warned.

“We invite the US president to correct this unfortunate statement that would open deep wounds in Turkish-US relations and instead show an attitude that is fair and would serve regional peace,” he said.

Turkey will continue to strongly defend the truth against those who misrepresent the historical facts, said Kalin.

Earlier Saturday, Biden called the events of 1915 a “genocide,” breaking American presidents’ long-held tradition of refraining from using the term.

Turkish stance on events of 1915

Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.

In 2014, then-Prime Minister Erdogan expressed condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.

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