At the risk of infuriating Turkey, President Biden formally announced on Saturday that the United States regards the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Turks more than a century ago to be a genocide — the most monstrous of crimes.
Mr. Biden was the first American president to make such an announcement, breaking with predecessors who did not wish to antagonize Turkey, a NATO ally and a strategically pivotal country straddling Europe and the Middle East.
The announcement carries enormous symbolic weight, equating the anti-Armenian violence with atrocities on the scale of those committed in Nazi-occupied Europe, Cambodia and Rwanda.
Use of the term is a moral slap at President Tayyip Recep Erdogan of Turkey, a fervent denier of the genocide. He has fulminated at other leaders, including Pope Francis, for describing the Armenian killings that way.
What is the origin and meaning of the term genocide?
Genocide is generally defined as the…