In a phone call, the two reportedly discussed what will be a first for a US president: calling the 1915 mass killings a ‘genocide’.
United States President Joe Biden told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he plans to recognise the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as an act of “genocide”, Bloomberg and the Reuters news agencies reported Friday, citing people familiar with the call between the leaders.
The two spoke Friday for the first time since Biden became president in January, a day before Biden’s expected remarks designating the killings as “genocide”, an action that will further strain already fraught ties between the US and Turkey.
“When it comes to the Armenian genocide, you can expect an announcement tomorrow,” US Department of State Deputy Spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters Friday, while declining to reveal details.
Biden would be the first US president to formally recognise the killings of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917 as genocide.
Turkey has acknowledged the deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, but has steadfastly denied that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.