US recognises Armenian genocide

"We remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide," US President Joe Biden said on the 106th anniversary of the genocide, officially recognising it as such, as previously announced. The Turkish foreign ministry promptly summoned the US ambassador in Ankara to convey its reaction: Biden's remarks had "opened a wound" in the countries' relations. Most commentators agree that Biden's act was worth it.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Factually correct, politically wrong

The US shouldn't jeopardise its relations with Turkey as a strategic partner in this way, the Tages-Anzeiger criticises:

“In Turkey the word genocide is taboo. The 'treason' of militant Armenian rebels is used to explain the mass killing of the Armenians, while the genocide itself has been denied for 100 years. ... Biden's no-nonsense approach is an indication that he intends to use pressure and a hard line in his dealings with Turkey. This, however, will place further strain on the already dismal relations between the two countries. ... Objectively, Biden is unquestionably right when he speaks of genocide. Politically, however, he must somehow persuade Turkey, as a Nato partner and regional power, to abandon its obstructionist stance at the international level.”

Polityka (PL) /

Biden is not risking much

Polityka, on the other hand, says Biden's statement doesn't pose a serious threat to relations with Turkey:

“Turkey's membership in Nato is not threatened. Its 'independent' foreign policy has not brought Turkey any success, and its economic difficulties as well as the growing opposition to Erdoğan's dictatorship in the country mean that it needs help from abroad. So the Biden administration has a lot of leverage and certainly needs Turkey less than Turkey needs the US.”

T24 (TR) /

Denial makes us complicit

The terms used are irrelevant - Turkey must finally recognise the crimes of 1915, demands writer Oya Baydar in T24:

“Is it a genocide or not, what did Biden say, what did Putin say? None of this changes what happened. From the point of view of all the parties involved in this matter, reducing the issue to a single word, to terminology, does nothing to contribute to a solution, to peace, to dialogue between peoples. ... The fact is that a crime against the Armenian people has been committed. It is not my fault, it is not your fault, it is not our fault, it is not the fault of yesterday's government or today's government. But if you deny 1915, if you claim that there is no guilt in the history of the Turks, then you are covering up, condoning, assuming the guilt and the sins of others.”

Habertürk (TR) /

The word has finally been spoken

Having to wait year after year to see if the US president would say the word genocide on 24 April was much more unpleasant than the present situation, Habertürk columnist Murat Bardakçı comments:

“What do you think will happen now? In the long run, nothing! Of course we'll get all hot under the collar for the next few days over the fact that at the presidential level our 'friend and ally' the US has portrayed Turkey as a country that committed 'genocide', and the growing anti-Americanism in our country will be given a boost. But after a while everything will calm down again. That said, at least we're now rid of a threat that hung over us for years, making our hearts beat faster every spring.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Rules of the game changing for Turkey

This could be a turning point in relations between the West and Turkey, Turkey correspondent Susanne Güsten believes in Der Tagesspiegel:

“President Erdoğan has so far acted on the assumption that Turkey is so indispensable to the West that even the superpower US has to be careful not to upset it. ... Biden is now signalling that Turkey is about to lose the West. This changes the rules of the game. The US government is banking on Turkey having no alternative to the West. ... One consequence of the Turkish-American dispute could be Erdoğan veering more towards the EU. The Turkish president needs strong partners more than ever now to help him out of his political isolation.” (UA) /

US isn't doing itself any favours

Biden is driving Turkey straight into the arms of Russia and China, counters:

“There is nothing behind the president's words, not even sanctions. However, all of this will clearly lead to a further aggravation of relations between Ankara and Washington. ... One thing is clear: against this background, the pressure exerted on Armenia by Turkey and its allies will only increase. ... And Biden will have to ask for help from Russia, which is indeed now the only guarantor of that country's security. Turkey itself will actively move closer to Moscow and Beijing. ... And that will not be good for Washington.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

A break with current doctrine

The words refer more to the present than the past, Corriere del Ticino comments:

“The use of the term genocide has the merit of intentionally strengthening a transatlantic axis in the Libyan region with the purpose of countering Turkish and Russian influence. At the same time, Biden wants to make it clear that he is determined to fight Erdoğan's destabilising position in various regions: the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Maghreb and the Balkans. In this sense, Biden's stance represents both an overcoming of political realism and a decisive break with current American political-diplomatic doctrine.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

First clean up your own front yard

Hürriyet is annoyed by a tweet from the pro-Kurdish HDP party demanding that Turkey recognise the Armenian genocide:

“The sentence 'Yes, the PKK is a terrorist organisation' is the last thing they would ever say. Yet the very same HDP instantly warbles like a nightingale when it comes to these controversial genocide allegations. And it crosses its arms in front of us and demands 'Go on, face up to the genocide!' ... Fine, but you're a party that hasn't even come close to confronting the shame of terror that is completely obvious, and still continues today. Where are you getting the courage to demand that Turkey confront what is at the very least a highly controversial historical issue? From Biden?”

Večernji list (HR) /

The term "genocide" is losing its power

Some states accuse others of genocide only to blithely continue doing business with them anyway, Večernji list criticises:

“The US and Britain call China's actions in Xinjiang genocide; the day before yesterday, the US administration used the same term to describe the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago. France was denounced a few years ago for its role in the genocide in Rwanda, and in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina politicians call the Republika Srpska government 'genocidists'. Interesting: governments that accuse each other of genocide often cooperate on issues of greater importance - which could lead to a decline in the significance of the charge of genocide.”