22 Apr 2021

Biden expected to formally recognise Armenian killings as genocide

3:17 pm on 22 April 2021

US President Joe Biden is expected to formally recognise the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I as an act of genocide, sources familiar with the matter say - a move likely to further strain US-Turkish ties.

President Joe Biden talks to reporters during the first news conference of his presidency in the East Room of the White House on 25 March 2021 in Washington, DC.

US President Joe Biden could use the word "genocide" as part of a statement on 25 April. Photo: AFP / 2021 Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters today the White House would likely have "more to say" about the issue on Saturday (local time), but declined to elaborate.

Biden could use the word "genocide" as part of a statement on 25 April when commemorations for the victims are held around the world annually but a final decision has not been made, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

A year ago, while still a presidential candidate, Biden commemorated the 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children who lost their lives in the final years of the Ottoman Empire and said he would recognise those killings as a genocide.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War I, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constituted a genocide.

Any move by Biden to recognise the mass killings as a genocide will further harm already-strained ties between the NATO allies, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

- Reuters

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