According to people familiar with the call, President Joe Biden told Turkish President Rajab Tayyab Erdogan on Friday that he plans to recognize the early twentieth-century massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Empire forces as genocide.
In a statement commemorating Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on Saturday, Biden is expected to use the term “genocide,” fulfilling a campaign pledge. He will be the first US president in 40 years to call the mass killings in 1915 a genocide.
Statement released by the White House
Biden told Erdogan that he is interested in a “constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of collaboration and successful management of differences,” according to a statement released by the White House regarding Biden’s first call with Erdogan as president.
105 years of #denial! #Armenian #Genocide must not only be recognized by #biden but also perpetrators #Turkey and #Azerbaijan need to be held accountable. Do the right thing! Thank you #cinemaforpeace! pic.twitter.com/RtsdENVRu2— Jivan Avetisyan (@jivanavetisyan) March 17, 2021
According to the White House, they decided to meet during the NATO summit in Brussels in June.
Lear continued to fall against the dollar after the news broke
The lira continued to fall against the dollar after the news of the call, falling as much as 0.9 percent. As of 9.46 p.m. in Istanbul, it was trading 0.8 percent lower at 8.3903.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan was the last US president to brand the genocide against Armenians a “genocide,” but he quickly backtracked under pressure from Turkey, the Ottoman Empire’s successor state.
Strains of Turkish-American descent
Erdogan has chastised other countries for calling the executions, deportations, and mass killings of Armenians genocide, and Biden’s statement is likely to irritate ties with the NATO ally. The Armenian diaspora has long pressed the US government to declare the more than a 100-year-old sequence of massacres a genocide.
This week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavush oglu told the news site Haber Turk that Biden’s words had no legal ramifications and would only affect US-Turkey ties. “If the US wants to worsen relations, that is their decision,” he said.
Relations between the two countries are already strained as a result of Turkey’s decision to buy an air defense system from Russia, which prompted President Donald Trump’s administration to enforce unprecedented sanctions on a NATO member.
Biden vowed to “recognize the Armenian Genocide and make basic human rights a top priority” during his presidential campaign last year. ‘Mass atrocity’ is a term used to describe a large-scale. Even so, Biden’s use of the term in an official statement was not a foregone conclusion.
In 2008, President Barack Obama made a similar promise. During his eight years in office, however, he only released watered-down remarks describing the events of 1915 as “tragic,” “mass atrocity,” and “horror,” but not as genocide.
Both houses of Congress passed a resolution in 2019 acknowledging the genocide. That vote took place amid a dispute over anti-aircraft missiles and after Turkey launched a military campaign in northern Syria in response to Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of the Kurdish-controlled territory.
Erdogan blames Armenians for 1915 events
Erdogan had blamed Armenians for the events of 1915 earlier that year, writing on Twitter that “the relocation of Armenian gangs and their backers, who massacred Muslim civilians, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia, was the only reasonable step that could be taken in such a moment.”