In a phone call, the two would discuss what would be the first time for a US president: calling the mass killings of 1915 a “genocide”.
US President Joe Biden told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he intends to recognize the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as an act of “genocide,” Bloomberg and news agencies reported. Reuters on Friday, citing people familiar with the call among leaders.
The two spoke on Friday for the first time since Biden became president in January, a day before Biden’s anticipated remarks designating the murders as “genocide,” an action that will further strain already strained ties between states United and Turkey.
“When it comes to the Armenian genocide, we can expect an announcement tomorrow,” US State Department Deputy Speaker Jalina Porter told reporters Friday, declining to reveal details.
Biden would be the first US president to formally recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917 as genocide.
Turkey acknowledged the deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, but firmly denied that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constituted genocide.
If Biden continues to recognize the mass killings as genocide, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday, it will further damage ties between NATO allies.
Turkish presidential spokesman Fahrettin Altun on Tuesday called the designation of genocide “a slander that has no connection with the facts and is fueled only by political calculations. It is an emotional, irrational and illegitimate accusation. “
Meanwhile, Biden and Erdogan have agreed during their call to meet in June, when both men will be in Brussels for the NATO summit, the White House announced on Friday.
The three-month delay in which Biden made his first contact with Erdogan is widely seen as a cold shoulder for the Turkish president, who had had close ties to former President Donald Trump.
The White House report on Friday’s call made no mention of the Armenian issue.
“President Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today, expressing his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective handling of disagreements,” the White House said in a statement.
He said the two leaders agreed to meet on the sidelines of the June NATO summit to have a broader conversation about their two countries’ relations.
“Both leaders agreed on the strategic nature of bilateral relations and on the importance of working together to build greater cooperation on matters of mutual concern,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration has increased pressure on Turkey by frequently voicing its discontent with Ankara’s human rights track record, and a gap remains between the two sides on a number of issues, including buying from Turkey’s part of Russian weapons systems and political differences affecting Syria. .