Turkish President blasts Biden’s ‘unfounded’ remarks on 1915 events

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) congress in Rize province, northeastern Turkey, Feb. 15, 2021. (AA Photo)

‘If you call it genocide, you should look in mirror and evaluate yourselves,’ says Erdogan.

The Turkish president on Monday denounced US President Joe Biden’s “unfounded” statement on the events of 1915, saying it is “contrary to the facts”.

Addressing a news conference following a three-hour Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “US President Biden has made a statement that is unfounded, unjust, and contrary to the facts about the painful events that took place more than a century ago.”

“As Turkey, we believe that it is inhumane to contest the sufferings of history,” Erdogan added.

He further said: “Investigating historical events and revealing the truth should be left to experts and historians, not to politicians.”

On a proposed joint history commission on Armenian claims, Erdogan said Turkey is yet to receive a response on its offer.

“There are mass graves of Turks massacred by Armenians in many places, but nowhere can you find mass graves belonging to Armenians,” the Turkish president said.

Erdogan further stated that there is ” no concrete evidence regarding Armenian allegations, nor any international court decision.”

“If you call it genocide, you should look in the mirror and evaluate yourselves,” said the leader.

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

Turkish stance on 1915 events

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 events 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, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey’s then prime minister and now president – expressed his condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.