Biden set to declare atrocities committed against Armenia were genocide

Biden set to declare atrocities committed against Armenia were genocide

The statement is a victory for Armenia and its extensive diaspora.

The White House account of the call made no mention of the issue.

CNN previously reported Biden was preparing to recognize the century-old atrocities against Armenians as a genocide, fulfilling a campaign promise.

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.

Predecessors who did not wish to antagonise Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and a strategically pivotal country straddling Europe and the Middle East.

Speaking in a statement on April 24, 2020 as a presidential candidate, Biden said: "If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words "never again" lose their meaning".

Biden, during the campaign, drew ire from Turkish officials after an interview with The New York Times in which he spoke about supporting Turkey's opposition against "autocrat" Erdogan.

"Nobody benefits from the debates - which should be held by historians - being politicised by third parties and becoming an instrument of interference in our country", Mr Erdogan said in a message to the Armenian patriarch in Istanbul. Turkey also says the number of Armenians killed was far fewer than the usually accepted figure of 1.5 million.

'President Biden spoke today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conveying his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective management of disagreements, ' the White House said.

Greek Armenian Assyrian genocide rally in Sydney Australia
Greek City Times

But Biden, whose call to Erdogan to inform him of the genocide recognition was their first conversation since the United States leader took office three months ago, has signaled he hopes for limited diplomatic impact. The delay had become a worrying sign in Ankara; Erdogan had good rapport with former President Donald Trump and had been hoping for a reset despite past friction with Biden.

The meeting, to take place on the sidelines of the June 14 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders meeting in Brussels, Belgium, will be used "to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues", after the leaders held a bilateral telephone call. The PKK has led an insurgency against Turkey for more than three decades.

Tensions have risen with Turkey in recent years over its purchase of a major air defense system from Russian Federation - the chief adversary of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - and its incursions against US-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria. The State Department has designated the PKK a terrorist organization but has argued with Turkey over the group's ties to the Syrian Kurds.

A Turkish statement on the call similarly stressed the positive, saying Erdogan and Biden agreed on "the importance of working together".

Lawmakers and Armenian American activists have been lobbying Biden to make the genocide announcement on or before Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which presidents typically mark with a proclamation.

'If the United States wants to worsen ties, the decision is theirs, ' he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also held a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on late Friday, according to diplomatic sources. "It is very important for people in the world to continue to have the hope and the faith that America's aspirational values are still relevant, and that we can in fact do several things at once".

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

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