Advertisement

Biden speaks to Erdogan by phone, prepares to recognize Armenian genocide

President Joe Biden is expected to be the first U.S. president to acknowledge the Armenian genocide in some four decades. Pool photo by Doug Mills/UPI
President Joe Biden is expected to be the first U.S. president to acknowledge the Armenian genocide in some four decades. Pool photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

April 23 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the former prepares to become the first U.S. president in four decades to use the term "genocide" to describe the 1915 slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

The White House said Biden told Erdogan he wanted a "constructive bilateral relationship" between the two countries.

Advertisement

"The leaders agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on the margins of the NATO Summit in June to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues," a statement said.

The phone call comes amid reports from The New York Times, CNN and other outlets that Biden is preparing to describe the deaths of more than 1 million Armenians during World War I as a genocide. The use of the term is likely to cause tension between the Biden administration and Turkey, which denies that it mistreated Armenians.

The fact that the Armenian genocide happened is well-accepted within academic circles. However, the Turkish government has continued to deny the culpability of its predecessor -- the Ottoman Empire.

Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources familiar with Friday's call, said Biden forewarned Erdogan about his plan to recognize Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on Saturday.

Advertisement

President Ronald Reagan was the last U.S. leader to acknowledge a genocide, but later backtracked his use of the term after upsetting Turkey.

Latest Headlines