02:43 GMT17 May 2021
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    Risking a row with Turkey, a US NATO ally and partner, Joe Biden issued a statement on Saturday, honouring Armenian Remembrance Day and referring to the hundreds of thousands of Armenian deaths at the height of World War I as "a genocide".

    Khloe Kardashian, a US reality show star of Armenian descent, thanked President Joe Biden on social media Saturday for being the first US president to formally recognise the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

    "Thank you for honouring the stories, the pain, suffering and loss of the Armenian people", the TV personality wrote on Instagram, pointing out that back "in 1915, over 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered and tortured".

    "Today we honour our ancestors on Armenian Remembrance Day".

    'Ottoman-Era Armenian Genocide'

    Despite Turkey being a longtime NATO partner and regional ally, Biden issued a statement on Saturday commemorating the 106th anniversary of the massacre.

    "Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring", Biden said in his statement, a copy of which Kardashian posted to her Instagram story.

    Multiple US celebrities with Armenian origins have hitherto called the authorities to brand the mass deaths as a genuine genocide.

    The Democratic president went on to call the public to turn their eyes to the future – "toward the world that we wish to build for our children", bringing up the "shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world".

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu weighed in shortly on Saturday saying Ankara utterly rejects Biden's use of the word "genocide" as inappropriate.

    "We are not going to take lessons about our history from anyone. Political opportunism is the biggest betrayal of peace and justice. We completely reject this statement that is only based on populism", he said on Twitter, with his stance later echoed by the Turkish president's communications director, Fahrettin Altun.

    "We absolutely reject the Biden administration's labelling of the 1915 events as 'genocide' and do not accept it", according to his statement. "It is wrong and damaging to label the 1915 events as anything but a tragedy", the statement proceeded.

    Massacre Estimates

    There is no clarity regarding the overall number of Armenians killed under Ottoman rule. Estimates range from 300,000 to 2 million deaths between 1914 and 1923, with not all the victims associated with the territory of the former Ottoman Empire that dissolved in November 1922.

    The majority of the usually cited estimates - including what Ottoman authorities suggested themselves (800,000 deaths between 1915 and 1918), fall in the region of 600,000 to 1.5 million.

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    Ottomans, Turkey, Armenia, NATO, Khloe Kardashian
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