Asia - Pacific

Biden's remarks on 1915 events 'mala fide': Experts

Speakers at webinar in Pakistan urge Muslim countries stand against unjust statement

Aamir Latif   | 02.05.2021
Biden's remarks on 1915 events 'mala fide': Experts

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistani experts have unanimously rejected US President Joe Biden's controversial statement on the events of 1915 as "unjust and partial," calling for building a counter-narrative against the "illegal" move that shows Washington's double standards.

Speaking at a webinar, US-Turkey standoff on the killings of Armenians in World War-I: Putting up the right context, they suggested Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mobilize like-minded countries to lodge a strong protest against the politically motivated move, which aims to pressurize Ankara for its vigorous role against rising Islamophobia.

The event was organized on Saturday by the Development Communications Network, an Islamabad-based think tank.

Addressing the virtual seminar, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the chairman of the Pakistani Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, dubbed Biden's remarks "engineered" and "politically motivated," noting that the move is in contravention of historical facts.

Biden, late last month, called the events of 1915 when the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire lost their lives during the difficult conditions of World War I as "genocide."

“It is yet another moment in the history when we all Muslim countries and friends of Turkey shall unite ...," said Sayed, a former information minister.

He added that Biden has tried to appease a tiny White Christian Armenian community in select US districts, but people who oppose the Armenian stance are much more.

The Biden administration, he said, must keep in mind that Turkey is a "very" strong economic partner of both the EU and the US, besides being a significant NATO ally.

The lawmaker suggested that media across the globe be mobilized for counter-narrative building against "this illegal decision showing the US double standards."
"Their eyes are closed on Myanmar, Kashmir, Rwanda, Nagorno Karabakh, and many other issues," he argued.

Lt. Gen. (Retd) Talat Masood, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, asked the EU to support and join hands with Ankara's longtime proposal for the creation of a joint commission of historians to examine the issue.

Turkey objects to presenting the 1915 events as “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both Turks and Armenians suffered casualties.

Masood called for a "unanimous and firm" stance in Turkey's favor, and against a rising tide of Islamophobia.

The latest move against Turkey and many others in the past, he said, shows prejudice against Muslims.

Turkey, he said, is standing up against Islamophobia, and other unjust actions of the West. "We all shall come together to support it."

He urged the Organization of Islamic Conference to stand strongly against the US move.

Prof. Ahmet Usysal, the director of ORSAM Centre for Middle Eastern Studies in Ankara, refuted the statistics quoted against Turkey and in support of so-called war killings, terming them baseless.

This, he said, is an attempt to pressurize Ankara by Washington and others for its firm stand against Islamophobia, and other injustices. "If so many people were killed (in 1915), then where are their graves? Those who are calling it a genocide, show us the graves?" he asked.

"We are not accepting any pressure from the West and the US for our internal and external policies, and we will not even if they continue to do that in future (as well)."

Munir Ahmed, the director of Development Communications Network, said Turkey is being considered a threat to the vested regional interests of the US and EU.

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