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Senators call on Biden to become first US president to recognize Armenian Genocide

Published: Updated:

More than 35 US senators Friday called on President Joe Biden to become the first American president to recognize the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire.

“Administrations of both parties have been silent on the truth of the Armenian Genocide. We urge you to break this pattern of complicity by officially recognizing that the Armenian Genocide was a genocide,” a group of Republican and Democratic senators said in a letter addressed to Biden.

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Between 1915 and 1923, Turkish authorities murdered 1.5 million Armenians and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee.

The Ottoman Empire at the time carried out ethnic cleansing. Turkey claims that those killed were far less than the number Armenia has given, and they continue to deny that there was a systemic effort to exterminate the Armenian population.

In 2019, the Senate passed a resolution by Senator Bob Menendez after Congress did the same to recognize the Genocide.

But former President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, refused to sign and recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Former US presidents have argued behind closed doors that recognizing the Armenian Genocide would significantly damage relations with its NATO ally, Turkey.

But Biden claimed just last year that he would support a bill to recognize the Genocide.

“In the past you have recognized the Armenian Genocide as genocide, including in your Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement during the 2020 campaign. We call on you to do so again as President to make clear that the US government recognizes this terrible truth,” the letter to Biden read.

US Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau stepped down from his post in 1916 because of the Genocide. He later said his failure to stop the destruction of the Armenians made “Turkey for me a place of horror.”

Read more: Turkey summons US ambassador over Armenian ‘genocide’ resolution