We regret U.S. President Joe Biden’s use of the term genocide on the anniversary of the 1915 deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the tragic events that followed. We believe that historical events should be evaluated by historians and researchers, and, more importantly, addressed by dialogue between societies, not through political statements.
The statement released by the White House will not contribute in a positive way to a variety of important issues – such as clarity in historical memory, the potential for normalizing relations with Armenia after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the possible opening of a border crossing, the future of bilateral relations with the U.S., and the stability of the transatlantic alliance and our region. On the contrary, this statement creates the potential for new tensions in our relations.
The continuous reassessment of historical events due to political considerations and its weaponization based on differing strategic priorities is not respectful to the historical memory of the people affected by these events. Such political statements also make it more difficult to foster a basis for an objective, multidimensional, and reasoned discussion of the issue. It complicates the search for consensus among societies and does not contribute to a solution in this effort.
Additionally, the timing of the release of the White House statement should not be overlooked. This statement and the resolutions passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2019 demonstrate how politicized this issue has become. It is concerning that the administration has changed a position they have held for the last forty years, due to the current deterioration of the U.S. – Turkey relationship.
Moving forward, it is important that all parties contribute to the peace, prosperity, and security of all peoples in the region. It is important to amend ties with regional and allied countries, and work towards the resolution of disagreements through dialogue, the re-prioritization of diplomatic soft power, the formation of relations with a constructive agenda, and pursuing a reasoned and measured response.