F-35 and Armenian Genocide recognition causes “headaches” for Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The final “cut” of Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet co-production program, as well as the imminent recognition of the Armenian Genocide by U.S. President Joe Biden, testify that Ankara-Washington relations are not going through the best of times.

This is of course nothing reminiscent of the “bromance” between Erdoğan-Trump of previous years.

All this is while the Turkish president is still waiting for his American counterpart to pick up the phone and communicate with him, almost four months since Biden took office.

Excluding F-35 due to S-400

The U.S., the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway have signed a new agreement for the F-35 co-production, in which Turkey is not a party despite being interested in acquiring 100 aircraft for the needs of the Air Force.

Washington decided to “freeze” Ankara’s participation in the F-35 program in 2019 because of its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems which is incompatible with NATO systems and could be used by Moscow to extract information.

F-35 fighter jet. Greece
F-35 fighter jet.

In this context, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey for the S-400, targeting the defense industry and its senior officials, thus unofficially ending their role in the F-35 program.

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

New tensions in Turkish-U.S. relations are expected to be caused by Biden’s reported decision to proceed with the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide that was perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

True to his campaign announcements and commitments to the strong Armenian community in the U.S., Biden will supposedly announce on Saturday his decision to recognise the Turkish-perpetrated systemic massacres as genocide.

Biden is expected to use the word “genocide,” according to Reuters, further escalating tensions in US-Turkish relations .

Reacting to Biden ‘s move, Erdoğan said on Thursday he was committed to defending “the truth against slander.”

Following the firm nationalist Turkish ideology and position from 1923 until today, the Turkish president does not recognise the systemic massacres as genocide.

“We will continue to defend the truth against the so-called lie of the Armenian Genocide, and those who support this slander with political calculations,” Erdoğan said after a wide-ranging meeting in Ankara with close associates.

Turkey admits that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces, but denies the allegations that the killings were systematically orchestrated or that they constitute genocide.

Turkey also denies the fact that they lasted for many years and in the official rhetoric they simply talk about the “events of 1915.”

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, was the one who in recent years pioneered the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S.

The decisive move was made in 2019 with the relevant resolution in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

However, then-President Trump had put the official recognition on the “ice”.

Last March, Mendez and 38 Democrats and Republican senators asked the American president to proceed with the symbolic gesture of Armenian Genocide recognition in a letter to Biden.

Extensive massacres of Armenians are attributed to the Young Turk movement (1908-18).

The beginning of the Armenian Genocide is symbolically considered to be April 24, 1915, when the leadership of the Armenian community of Constantinople was imprisoned and hundreds of Armenians in the city were hanged.

It is considered one of the first modern genocides.

Western and Armenian sources estimate the number of massacred at 1,500,000.

The Armenian Genocide took place in parallel and in the same way with genocides against other Christian populations of the Ottoman Empire, namely the Greeks and the Assyrians

To date, 30 countries , including France, Germany, Canada, Russia and Switzerland, have recognized the Armenian genocide.

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