By Aisha Jabbarova
Azerbaijani president, Foreign Ministry, political parties and the public have slammed US President Joe Biden’s decision to label the events of 1915 in the Ottoman era as “genocide”.
President Ilham Aliyev on April 24 described the decision as “a historic mistake” and “unacceptable”, the president’s press service reported.
Aliyev and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Biden’s move during a phone call.
Aliyev said that Biden’s statement seriously damages the emerging cooperation tendencies in the region, adding that Azerbaijan stands by Turkey.
Politicization of history
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry dubbed Biden’s statement on Armenian Remembrance Day as a distortion of the historical facts about the events of 1915.
In a statement published on April 24, the ministry said “the falsification of history, attempts to “rewrite history” and its use for political pressure are unacceptable.”
“Those who politicize the so-called “Armenian genocide” are silent on the massacre of more than 500,000 people by Armenian armed groups at that time, as well as the massacres committed by Armenian Dashnaks in Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan in March 1918,” the ministry said.
Azerbaijan’s political parties also condemned Biden’s statement. In a statement published by 48 political parties operating in the country, it has been explained that although many Armenians lost their lives due to difficult fighting conditions, internal conflicts, famine and disease during WWI, it is intentionally overlooked that more Turks died than Armenians during that period.
The parties said that “the historical reality should not be distorted for political purposes”, adding that Turkey has repeatedly stated its readiness to open its archives to historians and proposed the establishment of a joint commission to find out the truth.
The political parties further spoke about Armenia’s attempt to falsify historical facts. It highlighted that Armenian expansionism has been pursued not only against Turkey, but also against Azerbaijan for many years.
“More than 12,000 Turkic Muslims [in Azerbaijan] were killed during the March 1918 genocide alone. The bodies of many of them were not even found. Another tragedy of the 20th century is the Khojaly genocide. On 26 February 1992, Armenian military units committed a heinous crime in the town of Khojaly with a population of 7,000. These tragedies are among the gravest crimes against not only the people of Azerbaijan, but also the entire humanity,” the statement reads.
The statement emphasized that the fact that these crimes by Armenia have not received political and legal assessment for many years is the embodiment of “the policy of double standards.”
Azerbaijani Parliament’s Speaker Sahiba Gafarova said that Biden’s statement was undermining emerging potential for peace and cooperation in the region.
During a phone conversation with her Turkish counterpart Mustafa Shentop, Gafarova said that “politicization of history was a dangerous tendency” and also reiterated Azerbaijan’s support for Turkey.
In turn, Shentop described as a mistake US Administration’s latest move and expressed hope that this mistake will soon be rectified.
Azerbaijani social media has also been dominated with criticism against Biden, with many users sharing Turkish flags as a sign of solidarity with Turkey. Some users are also sharing photos of former US President Donald Trump, praising the latter’s policy to withhold from politicizing the 1915 events.