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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking at a press conference in November 2020. Photo: Alexis Mitas/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the Biden administration Monday for designating the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1915 as an act of genocide, telling the U.S. to "look in the mirror," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Erdoğan has previously warned a genocide declaration would harm U.S.-Turkey relations. On Monday, he threatened to retaliate by recognizing the U.S.'s long history of violence against Native Americans as genocide.

Context: The mass killing occurred when the Ottoman Empire attempted to transport Armenians from eastern Anatolia to the Syrian desert during World War I.

  • Armenians estimate that up to 1.5 million died. Turkey has recognized atrocities that occurred during this time, but denies it was an act genocide and says the death toll is exaggerated.
  • Previous administrations, including the Trump administration, typically steered clear of the genocide designation to avoid straining relations with Turkey, which is a NATO member and has been seen as crucial to containing Russia and managing issues in the Middle East.

What he's saying: "The U.S. President has made baseless, unjust and untrue remarks about the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago," Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting, per Reuters.

  • Turkey is attempting to establish "good neighborly" ties with Armenia, Erdoğan said, adding that President Biden should "turn back from this wrong step as soon as possible." He repeated a call for Turkish and Armenian historians to jointly review the events.
  • The Turkish president also said the U.S. needs to "look at yourselves" when considering genocide. "The Native Americans, I don't even need to mention them, what happened is clear," he said. "While all these truths are out there, you cannot pin the genocide accusation on the Turkish people."

Go deeper

Biden telegraphs tough moves with preemptive actions

A child protests World War I-era Armenian genocide outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden has repeatedly telegraphed tough decisions with earlier announcements designed to cushion the blow.

Driving the news: On Friday, the White House announced a generic call with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. Less than 24 hours later, the president issued a statement labeling a World War I Armenian massacre "genocide," angering the Turks.

Complaint to FTC: Amazon search results full of potentially deceiving ads

Photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amazon does not sufficiently distinguish between its search results and paid ads, potentially "deceiving millions of consumers," according to a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Joan Moriarty, research director for the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that filed the complaint, told the Washington Post the group is "very hopeful" that the FTC will investigate the complaint because Lina Khan (D), a known Amazon critic, is now chair.

3 hours ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

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