US President Joe Biden released a statement on 24 April in which he officially recognised the killings of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Such descriptions of those events have always been met with harsh criticism by respective Turkish governments, who reject the occurrence of genocide.
Protesters have gathered outside Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where an American contingent is housed, to demand the authorities close the military facility and expel the troops in response to the US president’s decision to recognise the Armenian genocide last weekend.
The protest was organised by a local wing of the Youth Union of Turkey (TGB), who call Joe Biden’s recognition of the genocide “illegal and legally void”.
The demonstrators are carrying Turkish flags and banners saying “exit NATO – the enemy of Ataturk”, “Close Incirlik for the US in response to lies about genocide”, and “No to NATO. This is our land!”
Biden’s decision to recognise the killings of around 1.5 Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War as genocide has been harshly condemned by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “groundless” and “disappointing”.
He stated that the move will have a “destructive impact” on US-Turkish ties, but did not elaborate on the repercussions.
Ankara describes the deportation and the deaths of Armenians in that historic period as the Ottoman Empire’s response to an Armenian rebellion and insists the government never ordered the systematic murder of the community.
Header: People protest outside Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, demanding to expel US troops stationed in it © SPUTNIK / SERTAC KAYAR