US President Joe Biden has become the first president of the United States to officially recognise as genocide the massacre of Armenians and other Christians by the Ottoman Empire.
In a statement on Armenian Remembrance Day, 24 April, Biden not only acknowledged the genocide of a century ago but warned of the need to prevent such genocide from happening again.
“Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide,” said Biden, “and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring.”
Between 1893 and 1923, some 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire in a policy of extermination of Christian minorities. In addition some 2.25 million Assyrian, Greek and Syriac Christians were also killed within Ottoman territories between 1914 and 1923, making a total of 3.75 million Christians killed.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, praised President Biden’s courage in making the declaration, adding that it would bring “joy to the Armenians who have campaigned for so long for recognition of these historic crimes”.
Supporters of Barnabas Fund and other organisations who have joined the Armenians’ campaign could, said Dr Sookhdeo, rejoice with them.
Dr Sookhdeo, who wrote to President Biden in February 2021 urging him to make this official recognition, also wrote to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March asking the UK government to recognise the Armenian Genocide.
On Sunday 25 April Dr Sookhdeo had the privilege of speaking at St Yeghiche Armenian Church in London at a service to commemorate the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. In his address he praised the decision of President Biden and urged countries such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Israel to follow suit.
In March 2021 the US State Department reported war crimes against Armenians, including military strikes against civilian targets and the torture and abuse of both military and civilian prisoners, conducted by Azerbaijan during their Turkish-supported invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh.