Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has praised President Joe Biden following reports that he will recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I was a genocide.
Shapiro, who founded The Daily Wire and serves as editor emeritus, took to Twitter on Wednesday and retweeted a report from The New York Times about the Biden administration’s decision to make the announcement this week.
“All due credit to Biden on this. Long overdue,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro has been critical of the Biden administration and Democrats more broadly but he has also called the massacres of Armenians a genocide and written about the need for the world to “come to grips” with the event.
“The Armenian Genocide was a vicious Islamic anti-Christian genocide. That attempted genocide continues today all over the world,” Shapiro tweeted in 2015.
This Saturday, April 24, is the day when victims of the killings are commemorated and Biden will reportedly make the formal recognition then. The president is likely to use the word “genocide,” according to Reuters. The move would be largely symbolic.
However, there remains a possibility that Biden will decide not to say “genocide” out of considerations for U.S. relations with Turkey, a NATO member and key regional ally.
It is estimated that around 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, from 1915, during World War I, to 1923. Turkey, the successor state to the empire, officially denies there was a genocide. Ankara recognizes that many Armenians were killed by Ottoman forces but disputes the figures and denies that the killings were carried out systematically.
The U.S. government has never officially called the deaths a genocide due to the potential damage such a move would have on bilateral relations with Turkey but Biden has used the term in the past.
“Today, we remember the atrocities faced by the Armenian people in the Metz Yeghern — the Armenian Genocide,” he tweeted on April 24, 2020. “If elected, I pledge to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and will make universal human rights a top priority.”
Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have been strained lately and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that recognizing the events as a genocide would harm the relationship further.
“Statements that have no legal binding will have no benefit, but they will harm ties,” Cavusoglu said. “If the United States wants to worsen ties, the decision is theirs.”
Biden has not spoken to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan since his inauguration in January—a marked split from former President Donald Trump‘s relations with the leader.
The Senate voted unanimously in favor of a non-binding resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in December 2019. The House of Representatives passed a similar resolution in October of that year.
Newsweek has asked Ben Shapiro for comment on this article.