Joe Biden Uses the ‘G-Word’: The Significance of Armenian Genocide Recognition

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Karagozyan National Orphanage after the Armenian Genocide, M. Hovakimean, 1920.

Chloe Marriott

On April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, US President Joe Biden formally recognised the 1915 mass killing and deportation of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire as “genocide”. In modern international relations, Armenian genocide recognition has become a highly politicised issue with implications for regional and global affairs. The US now joins dozens of countries that have formally recognised the atrocities against Armenians as genocide, which has the potential to further strain their relations with Turkey amid ongoing strategic divergence, and open old wounds with NATO allies. Still, it is an important step in achieving reconciliation and preventing future atrocities.

The Armenian Genocide – An Untold Story of the Twentieth Century

Most historians agree that throughout World War One, the Ottoman Empire systematically executed “one of the largest genocides in history”. On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities commenced a series of violent attacks against Armenians, slaughtering as many as 1.5 million members of the minority community in a region they had inhabited for over 2,500 years. Many were death-marched into the desert or held in concentration camps. The remainder were forced into exile. By the end of the war, over 90 per cent of Armenians who had lived in the territory of the Ottoman Empire were gone and their legacy erased.

To this day, Turkey vigorously denies the genocidal intent of these mass murders and those who formally recognised the events as genocide are condemned by Ankara and accused of “sabotaging” their relations with Turkey.

As such, recognition remains of great political importance to both Turkey and Armenia. Turkey’s unwillingness to recognise the events as genocide continues to generate turbulent relations with other nations and has become a reoccurring barrier to their European Union accession. Among Armenians, recognition is crucial for the collective healing of diaspora communities.

Western governments have typically been cautious to recognise the Armenian genocide due to concerns over severing bilateral ties with Turkey, with whom they share vital interests, and worsening regional conflict between the two nations. Howe