Despite tension, Turkey stands ready to open new era with US
Turkey is ready to start a new era with the United States despite the tension created by the latter’s president, Joe Biden, who called the 1915 events a genocide, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing that he will discuss all the contentious issues with him in person during their scheduled meeting in mid-June in Brussels.
“I believe we will discuss all these matters face to face with President Biden of the U.S. during our meeting in June and open the doors to a new era. I would like to remind Mr. Biden that we were not strangers. We had distinct relations. He even showed the courtesy of visiting me at my home during my illness,” Erdoğan said after a cabinet meeting late April 26, in his first reaction against Biden’s statement on April 24.
“All we want is for our country not to be subjected to unjust, unfair and double-standard practices, behaviors and decisions, taken under the influence of marginal groups. We stand ready to talk, reach an agreement and cooperate with everyone on every ground as long as our stance as a country which values its freedom and future above all else is respected,” Erdoğan stated.
Biden’s categorization of the 1915 events during World War I as genocide has caused anger in Turkey, which rejects the U.S. president’s statement as a “clear distortion” of history for political purposes.
Recalling that the two countries are standing together at NATO, Erdoğan slammed Biden for choosing the Armenian lobby over Turkey. Ankara and Washington have already had serious problems over the former’s deployment of the Russian S-400s and the latter’s support to the YPG in eastern Syria.
“We, with our counterpart, should set aside the matters, poisoning our bilateral relations, and evaluate what kinds of steps we will take for the future. Otherwise, we will have no choice but to put into effect the practices required by the new level our relations descended to following the April 24 statement,” Erdoğan stressed.
The recent U.S. actions against Turkey has already harmed the model partnership between the two allies, Erdoğan stressed, saying, “The April 24 statement topped of the recent developments and the Turkish-American relations have fallen way below this level.”
Erdoğan and Biden had a phone conversation on late April 23 and agreed to meet in Brussels for a bilateral talk on the margins of NATO leaders’ summit to take place on June 14.
Turkey ‘has no problems with Armenians’
Erdoğan also underlined that Turkey has no problems with Armenians and the state of Armenia.
“We have no problem with the Armenian community. We have lived together with these people for a thousand years. We continue to live in peace with some of them. We would like to build relations with Armenia based on good neighborliness regardless of the way it was established. To this end, we have taken steps, in which we always made sacrifices, in the past 16 years. However, our steps unfortunately went unreciprocated sincerely,” he stated.
Turkey has offered to establish a joint commission of historians to study the 1915 events, but this proposal has never been responded by Armenians, Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also informed about his phone conversation with Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev after Biden’s statement. “You know we gave the best answer to those who had imposed impasse as a solution for years with Azerbaijan in Karabakh. We will elaborate the steps we will take in this regard in the coming days,” he said.
Azerbaijan freed its territories from Armenian occupation after a 44-year war with Armenia. Erdoğan is planning to pay a visit to Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region with Aliyev after the Ramadan.