Τhe U.S. administration under President Joe Biden believes it is important to acknowledge history in respect to the issue of the Armenian Genocide, a White House spokesperson has told Kathimerini.
“As a presidential candidate, President Biden commemorated the 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children who lost their lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. He said then that we must never forget or remain silent about this horrific campaign,” the spokesperson said, replying to a request for reaction to a letter initiated by Senator Bob Menendez and co-signed by 36 other senators of both parties.
“And we will forever respect the perseverance of the Armenian people in the wake of such a great tragedy. This administration is committed to promoting respect for human rights and ensuring such atrocities are not repeated. A critical part of that is acknowledging history.”
In the letter, the senators urged Biden to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
"We write today to strongly urge you to officially recognize the truth of the Armenian Genocide. In the past you have recognized the Armenian Genocide as genocide, including in your Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement during the 2020 campaign. We call on you to do so again as President to make clear that the U.S. government recognizes this terrible truth," the letter read.
The Armenian Genocide took place from 1915 to 1923. The Ottoman Empire systematically sought to eliminate the Armenian population, killing 1.5 million Armenians and driving hundreds of thousands more from their homeland. Turkey denies that the killings amounted to genocide.
"We join the Armenian community in the United States and around the world in honoring the memory of these victims, and we stand firmly against attempts to pretend that this intentional, organized effort to destroy the Armenian people was anything other than a genocide," the senators' letter read.
"You have correctly stated that American diplomacy and foreign policy must be rooted in our values, including respect for universal rights. Those values require us to acknowledge the truth and do what we can to prevent future genocides and other crimes against humanity," it added.
'Break the pattern of complicity'
Reminding Biden that the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced affirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide in December 2019 and that the House overwhelmingly passed its own resolution recognizing the facts of the Armenian Genocide in the same year, the senators urged Biden to "break the pattern of complicity."
"As you said in your Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement last April, 'It is particularly important to speak these words and commemorate this history at a moment when we are reminded daily of the power of truth, and of our shared responsibility to stand against hate — because silence is complicity.' Administrations of both parties have been silent on the truth of the Armenian Genocide. We urge you to break this pattern of complicity by officially recognizing that the Armenian Genocide was a genocide," the letter read.