U.S. President Joe Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide could pave the way for Turkish society to face and question their own history, Armenian Acting Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan said.
“I believe this will be a very important step for dialogue and normalisation of our relations,” Aivazyan told the BBC, the Asbarez newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Biden described the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide on the 106th anniversary of the Armenian genocide on Saturday, becoming the first U.S. president to do so officially.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Biden to reverse his declaration in a statement on Monday. Erdoğan accused the United States of hypocrisy on human rights and denied that the deportation and killings of Armenians in 1915 by the Ottoman Empire constituted a genocide.
Turkey has been pursuing a “hostile and aggressive” policy towards Armenia since the latter’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Aivazyan said.
“A schism was created between two neighbouring countries,” he said.
“We do hope that this very important statement by the U.S. president will pave the way for dialogue and eventually to the normalisation of relations. It will also contribute to the regional peace and stability.”
Turkey says that the Ottoman-era deaths occurred under wartime conditions without planning or forethought and lots of local Muslim civilians also died in World War I conditions.