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President Biden told Turkish President Erdogan he’s planning to recognize Armenian genocide

KIFI

President Joe Biden told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday he plans to recognize the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

Readouts from the White House and Turkish presidency did not mention the issue. The call was described by the person familiar as “tense.” Bloomberg was first to report that Biden told Erdoğan of his intentions.

CNN previously reported Biden was preparing to recognize the century-old atrocities against Armenians as a genocide, fulfilling a campaign promise. Biden’s predecessors in the White House had stopped short of using the word, wary of damaging ties with a key regional ally.

As vice president, Biden dealt frequently with Erdoğan and made four trips to Turkey, including in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt. But since then he’s offered a less-than-rosy view of the Turkish leader.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with him. He is an autocrat,” he told the New York Times editorial board in 2020. “He’s the president of Turkey and a lot more. What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to him now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership.”

Biden spoke by telephone with Erdoğan on Friday, his first conversation with the Turkish leader since taking office. The long period without communication had been interpreted as a sign Biden is placing less importance on the US relationship with Turkey going forward.

In a readout of the call, the White House said Biden “convey[ed] his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded areas of cooperation and effective management of disagreements.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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