ANKARA

Turkish business leaders on Saturday condemned US President Joe Biden’s remarks on the events of 1915.

Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), said on Twitter that history cannot be changed by political agendas or populist decisions.

Strongly condemning Bien’s remarks, Hisarciklioglu stressed that they distorted historical facts and will hurt affect Turkish-US relations.

Nail Olpak, the head of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), also criticized Biden’s statement, saying that Turkey has never in its long history committed such a crime against humanity.

“We strongly oppose and reject this unrealistic, politically based, and baseless statement, which is also not valid from the point of view of international law.”

This unfair position of the US, which we call a friendly and allied country, is neither politically nor diplomatically correct, he added.

Earlier Saturday, Biden called the events of 1915 a “genocide,” breaking US presidents’ long-held tradition of refraining from using the term.

Turkish stance on events of 1915

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, then-Prime Minister Erdogan expressed condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.

*Writing by Yunus Girgin

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