In landmark step, Biden expected to recognise Armenian genocide

Armenia

It also took place a day before Biden is expected to declare that the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, a move that is nearly certain to infuriate Ankara and further damage ties.

The White House said Biden told Erdogan Friday he wants to improve the two countries' relationship and find "effective management of disagreements".

Salpi Ghazarian, director of the University of Southern California's Institute of Armenian Studies, said the recognition of genocide would resonate beyond Armenia as Biden insists that respect for human rights will be a central principle in his foreign policy.

Biden, who during his decades as a senator forged close relations with the Armenian-American and Greek-American communities, promised during his presidential campaign to recognise the Armenian genocide.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan thanked Biden for his "powerful step towards justice and invaluable support to the heirs of the Armenian genocide victims".

Asked if an Armenian genocide statement was coming, State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter told reporters yesterday to "expect an announcement tomorrow".

Cavusoglu said Saturday in a statement that Biden's recognition "distorts the historical facts, will never be accepted in the conscience of the Turkish people, and will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship".

Despite decades of pressure from the U.S. Armenian community, successive presidents have skirted the genocide controversy due to worries about a rupture with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which has steadfastly rejected the assertion.

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"Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history", Biden said. "We will not take lessons from anyone on our history".

Despite the tense relations, Erdogan and Biden are due to meet in June on the sidelines of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels. He argued when making the campaign pledge past year that failing to call the atrocities against the Armenian people a genocide would pave the way for future mass atrocities.

Armenians say they were purposely targeted for extermination through starvation, forced labor, deportation, death marches, and outright massacres. Biden has kept Erdogan at arm's length - a contrast with Trump, whom the Turkish leader reportedly found so amenable that he would call Trump directly on his phone on the golf course. Faik Oztrak, spokesman for the main opposition Republican People's Party, said "it will open wounds that will be hard to fix not only on U.S. -Turkey ties but also on a potential compromise between the people of Armenia and Turkey". In recent years, Turkey has launched military operations against PKK enclaves in northern Iraq and against US -allied Syrian Kurdish fighters.

In response to the U.S. recognition, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an announcement saying "Israel recognizes the bad suffering and the tragedy of the Armenian people".

"I will continue to fight for Israeli recognition of the Armenian Genocide, it is our moral responsibility as the Jewish state", Lapid added.

Biden's declaration follows a non-binding resolution by the U.S. Senate adopted unanimously in 2019 recognizing the killings as genocide.

"We've seen through experience that concern about Turkey's reaction was always overblown", he said.

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