Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

US President Joe Biden on Saturday released a statement recognizing the Armenian genocide which took place between 1915-1923.

He is the first US president to use the word "genocide" to refer to those events.

"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 the statement. "Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination."

"Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.

"The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today."

Biden on Friday informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his intention to recognize the genocide, in the first phone call between the two leaders since Biden's inauguration in January.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu responded to Biden's statement on Twitter, writing: "'Words cannot change or rewrite history.' We have nothing to learn from anybody on our own past. Political opportunism is the greatest betrayal to peace and justice. We entirely reject this statement based solely on populism."

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded to the US' recognition by stating: "Israel recognizes the immense suffering and tragedy of the Armenian people. Especially in these times, is our responsibility and that of other countries in the world to ensure that such events never happen again."

Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid stated: "‎‏This is an important moral statement by President Biden. I will continue to fight for Israeli recognition of the Armenian genocide, it is our moral responsibility as the Jewish state."