The head of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly said Wednesday that the crime of genocide must be determined by a competent international judicial tribunal.
Volkan Bozkır said genocide is a crime specifically defined in the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in response to a question by Armenia's permanent representative to the U.N. regarding claims of genocide surrounding the 1915 events.
He stressed that what constitutes genocide and how it is determined is clearly established in the convention.
"Accordingly, the crime of genocide needs to be determined by a competent judicial body. In other words, in order to describe an incident as genocide, a competent international tribunal must make a decision to that effect," Bozkır said at a meeting to mark the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
United States President Joe Biden called the events of 1915 "genocide" on April 24, breaking a long-held tradition of American presidents refraining from using the term.
"The U.N.'s position on what constitutes genocide is naturally in line with the convention and has been repeated many times by U.N. officials in the past and most recently two weeks ago by the spokesperson for the secretary-general, who reiterated that genocide needs to be determined by an appropriate judicial body, as far as the U.N. is concerned," Bozkır added.
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as "genocide," describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.
In 2014, Turkey's then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.
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