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Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report

Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report
© Greg Nash

President BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE is expected to formally recognize the killing of more than 1 million Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide, more than a century later.

Sources close to the matter told The New York Times that Biden is expected to make the announcement on Saturday, which would be the 106th anniversary of the start of a multi-year ethnic cleansing campaign that began during WWI and ended in 1922.

Biden would be the first U.S. President to recognize the actions against the Armenian people as a genocide, the Times notes, though former President Reagan made a reference to the genocide once in 1981 when discussing the Holocaust.

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As a presidential candidate last year, Biden had previously indicated his support for recognition, writing in a Medium post to commemorate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day: “If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words ‘never again’ lose their meaning."

Both the House and Senate in 2019 approved measures that would make the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a U.S. foreign policy matter.

A bipartisan group of 40 congressional lawmakers signed a letter in March urging Biden to recognize the genocide.

This action will likely provoke Turkey, where Ottoman Empire was founded, whose government acknowledges many Armenians were killed during WWI but denies the killings amounted to a genocide.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Tuesday that any move that recognized the killing of Armenians as a “genocide” would harm U.S.-Turkey relations.

"Statements that have no legal binding will have no benefit, but they will harm ties," Cavusoglu said in an interview. "If the United States wants to worsen ties, the decision is theirs."

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The Times reports that Armenian foreign Minister Ara Aivazian said U.S. recognition would be a "kind of moral beacon to many countries.”

“This is not about Armenia and Turkey,” Aivazian added. “This is about our obligation to recognize and condemn the past, present and future genocide.”

At least 29 other countries have formally recognized the Armenian Genocide, mainly those in Europe and the Americas.