The leader of Turkey’s right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli, on Tuesday, called on the government to put the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems on combat duty in response to US President Joe Biden’s official recognition of the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.
On April 24, the Armenian Remembrance Day, Biden said that “the American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.” Turkey, which denies committing the genocide, condemned the designation and called on Biden to reverse it for the sake of promoting the peaceful coexistence of peoples in the region.
“According to Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Biden committed a crime of inciting hatred. In response, our first task should be to activate the S-400 and demand a refund for F-35 [US fighters]. For us, relations with the United States are now at a historic crossroads,” Bahceli said while speaking in parliament.
The Nationalist Movement Party is in alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party.
Earlier, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that the US does not expect the military relationship between the US and Turkey to change after President Joe Biden officially recognized the Armenian genocide.
“We don’t anticipate any change in the military relationship with Turkey,” Kirby told reporters on Monday.
The spokesperson stressed that Turkey remains a vital NATO ally and noted also that Biden’s announcement will not impact joint operations in Syria.
Despite Kirby’s assurances, Ankara expressed outrage over Saturday’s announcement made on Armenia’s Remembrance Day. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called Biden’s decision regretful and a source told Sputnik that Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned US Ambassador David Satterfield to voice its opposition to the statement.
Turkey, which traditionally rejects the assertions of genocide, has repeatedly warned the Biden administration that such a move by the United States would hurt bilateral relations.