Biden Expected To Declare Atrocities Against Armenians Were Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joe Biden
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate ... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate passed the latest COVID-19 relief bill by 50 to 49 on a party-line vote, after an all-night session. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 22, 2021 8:07 a.m.

President Biden is expected to soon declare the Ottoman Empire’s killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian civilians over a century ago an act of genocide according to multiple reports.

Officials familiar with the matter told The New York Times that Biden is expected to announce the designation on Saturday which marks the 106th anniversary of the beginning of the atrocities during World War I. 

The designation, which is symbolic in nature but is not expected to carry tangible penalties, could boost perception of the United States’ commitment to human rights over the risks of potentially further damaging its alliance with one of its NATO allies.

Both chambers of Congress approved measures in 2019 to make the genocide’s recognition a formal matter of U.S. foreign policy and a bipartisan group of 38 senators addressed a letter to Biden last month, urging him to make the declaration which was part of his pledge on the campaign trail last year. 

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According to the Armenian National Institute at least 29 other countries have already taken similar steps to recognize the genocide.

The move will likely test the Biden administration’s dealings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after relations between the two countries were strained in December after the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Ankara for its purchase and test of a Russian missile defense system.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned during an interview earlier this week that the Biden administration’s move would further fray ties. 

“Statements that have no legal binding will have no benefit, but they will harm ties,” Mr. Cavusoglu said in an interview with the Turkish broadcaster Haberturk. “If the United States wants to worsen ties, the decision is theirs.”

Turkey has denied that the killings constituted genocide.

Armenia’s foreign minister Ara Aivazian told the Times in an interview on Wednesday that the designation would boost the United States as a moral leader.

“I believe bringing dangerous states to the international order will make our world much more secure,” Aivazian said. “And we will be witnessing less tragedies, less human losses, once the United States will reaffirm its moral leadership in these turbulent times.”

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