According to US newspapers, US President Joe Biden is planning to remember the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I.
A step like this will exacerbate tensions with NATO ally Turkey, which has fiercely opposed the tag, which has already been embraced by dozens of countries, including France and Russia.
According to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Biden is expected to declare the genocide declaration on Saturday, the 106th anniversary of the mass killings that started in 1915 in the area that is now Armenia, when the Ottoman Empire was fighting Tsarist Russia during World War I.
While the historic status would have no legal ramifications, it would enrage Ankara, which maintains there was no genocide and that both sides committed massacres during the war.
More than 100 members of Congress, headed by Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote to President Obama, urging him to honor a campaign pledge to remember the genocide.
In a symbolic vote in December 2019, the US Congress officially acknowledged the killings as genocide.
“For decades, while leaders around the world recognize the first genocide of the 20th century, the president of the United States has remained silent,” the letter said.
“Mr President, as you said last year in your April 24 statement, ‘Silence is complicity.’ The shameful silence of the United States government on the historic fact of the Armenian Genocide has gone on for too long, and it must end,” the letter said.
Turkey said the decision was “aimed at changing history based on political agendas” after the Dutch parliament passed a motion in February urging the government to acknowledge the genocide.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview this week that “statements that have no legal binding would have no advantage, but they will hurt relations… If the US wants to sour relations, that is their choice.”
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN