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Cher responds to Biden calling mass killing of Armenians a genocide

On Saturday, President Joe Biden acknowledged the killing of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks more than a century ago as genocide.
/ Source: TODAY

On Saturday, Cher, who is half Armenian, responded to President Joe Biden calling the mass killing of Armenians a genocide. Biden became the first U.S. president to acknowledge the killing of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks more than a century ago as genocide.

"After decades of struggle, the United States government has finally made sure that it is on the right side of history thanks to President Biden," the 74-year-old icon, who heavily campaigned for Biden during the 2020 presidential election, told TODAY in a statement.

Cher arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of "The Promise" on April 12, 2017.Tara Ziemba / Getty Images

"Despite being a painful reminder of crimes against humanity, people around the world can finally know that the memories of their ancestors will not be forgotten thanks to this formal recognition by the United States."

Biden’s predecessors have acknowledged the mass killing of Armenians but stopped short of using the term genocide due to Turkish objections. The move could complicate an already strained relationship between the U.S. and Turkey.

Cher, who was born Cherilyn Sarkisian, is one of the most famous Armenian-Americans. In 2017, she lent her support to the historical film "The Promise," a period drama centered around the massacre of Armenians during World War One in what is now Turkey.

"People don't know about the genocide and the Turks have never admitted it and it is very important," Cher said to Access Hollywood at the film's premiere, that was also attended by Kim Kardashian and her sister, Kourtney. "Hitler said if they don't remember the Armenians, they will never remember the Jews. But obviously, he was wrong."

"My grandparents escaped and my friend's grandmother she escaped, but many people didn't," Cher added. "I am half-Armenian, but when I went to Armenia, it was so strange, because I saw people there who looked exactly like me. If you look at Kim and her sister, we have something here."

Cher also told Reuters at the time, "“There is something about people when they don’t see other people as human beings, then they objectify and then they can do anything to them."

Kim Kardashian has also been an outspoken advocate against genocide denial. In 2016, she penned a New York Times op-ed decrying the Wall Street Journal's decision to run an advertisement from a group of Armenian genocide deniers.

“Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it—that’s not publishing a ‘provocative viewpoint,’ that’s spreading lies," she wrote. "It’s totally morally irresponsible, and, most of all, it’s dangerous. If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?“