During their first phone call since U.S. elections, U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that he intends to recognize the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
The news was reported by Reuters late Friday, one day before Armenian Remembrance Day and the day Biden is expected to make an official statement calling the events in the early 1900s a “genocide.”
When the statement is released from the White House, it will be the first time a U.S. President has officially recognized the orchestrated murders of millions of Armenians, Greeks and other Christian minorities in Turkey, a genocide.
The New York Times first reported the Biden Administration’s intentions.
Despite campaign promises, American presidents have generally avoided describing the killings as a “genocide” to avoid any backlash from Turkey.
President Ronald Reagan tangentially referred to the “genocide of the Armenians” in an April 22, 1981, statement commemorating the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Biden signaled his intentions a year ago in a speech on April 24, Armenia’s official day of remembrance of the genocide. He used the term “Armenian genocide” and asserted that “we must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination.”
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