The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday adopted a motion condemning the recognition of the massacre of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide by US President Joe Biden last Saturday.
On April 24 Biden became the first US leader to use the term genocide in an annual message on the anniversary of the 1915-1916 massacres.
The statement, drafted and signed by Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, says the Turkish Parliament strongly condemns Biden’s genocide statement and rejects the baseless genocide accusations, “which mean nothing but distortion of historical facts based on political motivations.”
The statement also calls on Biden to retract his statement and support efforts by the Turkish and Armenian peoples to live in peace and safety.
The motion will be published in the Official Gazette now that parliament has passed it.
The Armenians — supported by historians and scholars — say 1.5 million of their people died in a genocide committed under the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Ankara accepts that both Armenians and Turks died in huge numbers as Ottoman forces fought czarist Russia.
But Turkey vehemently denies a deliberate policy of genocide and notes that the term had not been legally defined at the time.
All the parties in the Turkish Parliament, except the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), deny the Armenian genocide and have reacted angrily to the US in the wake of its recognition of the massacre as genocide.