Joe Biden is the first U.S. President who formally declared and recognized the mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. This announcement is expected to increase the country's tension and its allied countries with Turkey.
According to a recently published article on The Hill, former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump avoided using the term "genocide." Even though Obama pledged to recognize the killings of Armenians, he never did it while he was in office. Trump also did not support the resolution passed to cultivate a friendly relationship with the Turkish leader.
Before Biden's announcement, lawmakers and White House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff urged the President to follow through with what he said during the campaign. This now marked Biden as the first President to recognize the matter as so, according to a published report on CNN News.
Turkey Denounced Biden's Statement
Biden's statement was welcomed by Bipartisan members in the House of Congress and human rights advocates. However, this is also expected to complicate the country's relationship with Turkey, an ally of NATO and with whom the U.S. has increasingly clashed.
In a recently published article on NBC News, the Turkish government was said to have strongly denounced Biden's statement and said that it would undermine their relationship.
The Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement, "We reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement of the President of the US regarding the events of 1915 made under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups on 24 April."
He also added that the statement of Biden distorts the historical facts in Turkey and that this will never be accepted in the conscience of its people. Biden's recognition of the killings potentially opens a deep wound as it counteracts mutual trust and relationship between the two countries.
Biden's First Call With Turkey
On Friday, Biden made his first phone call as president to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which he allegedly told his counterpart of his intention to recognize the Armenian genocide.
According to a White House readout, the two have agreed to meet on the sidelines of the forthcoming NATO summit in Brussels in June "to discuss the full spectrum of bilateral and regional issues."
Meanwhile, Turkey has long denied that the massacres amounted to genocide, claiming that both Armenians and Turks died in the Ottoman Empire's fall. They also say that 300,000 Armenians were killed.
Although Turkey collaborates with the U.S. on counterterrorism, ending Syria's civil war, and preventing a revival of the Islamic State, tensions with Ankara have risen over its acquisition of a Russian missile defense system and participation in regional conflicts.
Before the announcement this week, Turkey's foreign minister said that acknowledging the Armenian genocide would damage ties between Washington and Ankara.