North Macedonia decries Biden’s remarks on 1915 events

By Talha Ozturk and Dzihad Aliju

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Leaders of political parties in North Macedonia condemned US President Joe Biden's recent remarks on the events of 1915.

Turkish National Unity Movement (TMBH) President Erdogan Sarac said Biden’s "genocide" statement is a lie and slander because it was incompatible with the facts.

He said that such a statement is never acceptable from a country that is an ally within NATO.

"We have no pages to be ashamed of in our history. The justice, rights and laws of our past cannot be discussed. The president of the US wants to distort the facts. He implies that he is right because he is strong. Our national and moral character says that ‘the righteous are strong.’ Whatever the conditions are, we are always with what we call [our] ‘homeland,’ the Republic of Turkey," said Sarac.

He added that they also condemn the print and visual media in Macedonia taking sides with the US.

Beycan Ilyas, chairman of the Democratic Party of Turks (TDP), said on social media that he strongly condemned Biden's calling the events of 1915 a "genocide.”

"I also remind them what they did to the Native Americans and slaves,” said Beycan.

On Saturday, Biden called the events of 1915 a "genocide," breaking with a long-held tradition by American presidents of refraining from using the term.

A Malaysian non-governmental organization also condemned Biden's remarks.

“Western countries remain silent on the genocide that Israel continues to carry out in Palestine and India in Kashmir," said Azmi Abdul Hamid, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization (MAPIM), adding the Indian army “has killed about 600,000 Kashmiris” since 1947 and Israel has “displaced millions of Palestinians.”

He dubbed Biden’s remarks an “interference in Turkey’s internal affairs.”

– Turkish stance on 1915 events

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as "genocide," describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.

In 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey’s then-prime minister and now president – expressed his condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.