Joe Biden has become the first US president declare formal recognition of the Armenian genocide, more than a century after the mass killings by Ottoman troops and opening a rift between the new US administration and Ankara.
President called Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday to inform him US would make designation on 106th anniversary of the genocide
“The American people honour all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday.
“Beginning on 24 April 1915 with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination.”
Biden called the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Friday, to inform him that the US would make the designation on the 106th anniversary of the genocide. The conversation was reported to be tense and the issue was not mentioned in official accounts of the conversation.
“This is something that’s been a deeply held conviction of President Biden for a very long time going back to when he was in the Senate and it was a position that he made very clear during the campaign,” a senior administration official said.
The official also made a connection to the upsurge of issues of identity around the Black Lives Matter movement and attacks on Asian Americans. The American people honour all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today
“I would say we’re also at a moment, including here in the United States, where people are grappling with their histories, and the impact of of those those histories and so I think even just historically it is the right moment to do this.”