© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attends a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Washington
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on US President Joe Biden to immediately undo his statement that the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was genocide.
Biden’s historic statement on Saturday enraged its NATO ally Turkey, who said the announcement opened a “deep wound” in relations that were already tense over a variety of issues.
In his first comments since Biden’s statement, Erdogan said “the wrong move” would hamper relations, advising the United States “to look in the mirror,” adding that Turkey is still trying to “be good neighborly” with Armenia to build up.
“The US President made unfounded, unjust and untrue remarks on the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago,” said Erdogan after a cabinet meeting and repeated the call to Turkish and Armenian historians to form a joint commission Investigate the events.
“I hope the US president will get back from this wrong move as soon as possible.”
He also criticized the United States for failing to find a solution to the decades-long conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh – where the United States, Russia and France were mediators – and said Washington admitted to the massacres.
“When you say genocide, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and make an assessment. Native Americans, I don’t even have to mention what happened is clear,” he said, referring to the treatment of Indians by European settlers. “While all of these truths are out there, genocide cannot be blamed on the Turkish people.”
Turkey supported Baku in the conflict last year in which Azerbaijani troops captured areas of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Biden’s statement came at a time when Ankara and Washington were struggling to fix links. They were tense when Turkey bought Russian defense systems, which resulted in US sanctions. political differences in Syria; and legal matters.
Erdogan said he expected a NATO summit in June to “open the door for a new period” and discuss any disputes with Biden, but warned that if the allies did not share the issues, relations would deteriorate further could.
“We must now put our disagreements aside and see what steps we can take from now on or we will have no choice but to do what is required for the level to which our relations fell on April 24th” , he said.
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