In one phone call, the two are said to have discussed what would be the first time for a US president: calling the 1915 mass murder a ‘genocide’.
US President Joe Biden told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he planned to recognize the mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as an act of “genocide,” Bloomberg and Reuters news agency reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the call between leaders.
The two spoke on Friday for the first time since Biden became president in January, the day before Biden’s expected comments designating the murders “genocide,” an act that would further strain the already strained relationship between the US and Turkey.
“When it comes to genocide in Armenia, you can expect an announcement tomorrow,” US Deputy Secretary of State Jalina Porter told reporters on Friday, while declining to disclose details.
Biden will be the first officially recognized US president killing of the 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917 for genocide.
Turkey acknowledged the Armenian death in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, but firmly denied that the murders were systematically staged and constituted a genocide.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said if Biden continues to recognize the mass killings on Tuesday, it will further damage relations between NATO allies.
Turkish President Fahrettin Altun’s spokesperson on Tuesday called the genocide action “a slander that has nothing to do with the facts and has been driven only by political calculations. It is an emotional, irrational and unjustified accusation.
Meanwhile, Biden and Erdogan agreed on a call to meet in June when both of them will travel to Brussels for the NATO summit, the White House announced on Friday.
Biden’s delay of three months on his first approach to Erdogan is seen by many as a cold shoulder for the Turkish president, who has had close ties to former President Donald Trump.
The White House report on Friday’s call did not address the issue of Armenia.
“President Biden today spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing his interest in constructive bilateral relations with expanded fields of cooperation and management. the results of disagreements, “the White House said in a statement.
It said the two leaders had agreed to meet on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June to have a broader conversation about the two countries’ relationship.
“Both leaders agreed on the strategic character of the bilateral relationship and the importance of working together to build greater cooperation on issues of mutual concern,” said the President of Turkey. in a statement.
In recent weeks, the Biden administration has been increase pressure on the Turkish side by regularly expressing dissatisfaction over Ankara’s human rights record, and the gap between the two sides remains on a wide range of issues, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons systems. and policy differences related to Syria.