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Editorial

Why Did Biden Recognize the Armenian Genocide?

"The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today," wrote President Joe Biden on April 24.

With these words of historical significance, the American President corrected a moral injustice of more than a century…

Biden did what previous presidents refused to do: He described the mass extermination of more than one million Armenians during World War I by the Ottomans as ‘genocide.’

And it is extremely interesting that, at least for the time being, Erdogan remains almost silent, entrusting his Foreign Minister with the role of attacking America.

The key question today is: what allowed the American President to say the obvious – something that is supported by indisputable evidence from even Ottoman authorities?

Biden is emphasizing human rights in the conduct of his foreign policy.

However, previous presidents did the same, without making this decision.

So where does this decision come from?

The first reason is political. The Armenian community in America, on the one hand, is becoming more and more powerful over time and, on the other hand, passionately preserves the historical memory of the genocide of their ancestors and demands a moral tribute.

The Turkish Foreign Minister, who attributed Biden’s statement to "political opportunism and populism," is therefore ‘correct’ in one sense – but Biden has always taken strong human rights stands, for example, supporting the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in addition to the recognition of the  Armenian Genocide.

The second, and most likely, reason is that the consequences of this decision, the retaliation that Erdogan may take against the United States, do not have the same force as they once did.

This is due to the declining geopolitical importance of Turkey and the lack of U.S. confidence in its leadership.

The populist Erdogan has exceeded the tolerable limits in his relations with the West in general and with America in particular.

Erdogan overestimated his importance – as Andreas Papandreou once did with the U.S. bases in Greece – and made the mistake of ‘playing games’ to the detriment of Western security, believing that his allies would have no choice but to accept his challenges.

Erdogan's fatal mistake was the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia.

He played with the players. He played with the security of the West.

In addition, the Turks behave as if their country was a regional superpower, making unacceptable challenges to Greece and Cyprus, but also getting involved in the civil war in Syria and even with issues related to Iran.

As long as Trump was president, Erdogan had cover, despite the fact that the U.S. military establishment was fiercely opposed to the purchase of the S-400s.

So we came to the point where Washington decided that Erdogan's room for maneuver was limited, but also that recognizing the Armenian Genocide was an opportunity to thank the Armenians of the United States and teach Erdogan a good lesson, with strong political implications within Turkey. It was also the right thing to do.

Now, what does this mean for Greece?

Hellenes are pleased with the recognition of the Armenian Genocide due to the parallel brutal treatment of our ancestors at the hands of the Ottomans and the Young Turks, and generally thanks to the historical ties of the two peoples.

 Beyond that, a tangible opportunity is being created for Greece: the weakening of the U.S.-Turkish relations is a de facto upgrading of Greece's military role for America.

If America did not have confidence in its relations with Greece, if it did not believe that it could safely and for a long time use facilities on its territory, it would be more restrained in dealing with Erdogan.

Careful observers will note that the United States makes no reference to Greece and its rivalry with Turkey in the context of the recognition. Washington cites the issue of Russian missiles as the sole reason.

Of course, it would be useful to refer to Turkey's provocations against Greece. However, it goes without saying that as a result of these events, America is shifting more and more towards Greece, with the result that the latter acquires special weight in Washington’s calculations, not as much as Israel, but something similar.

Something that America will have every reason to support.

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