US President Joe Biden has formally recognised the systematic killings and deportations of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century as genocide. In a break with previous US presidents, Biden said on Saturday: "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." April 24 is the annual commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Video filmed in Armenia's capital Yerevan on Friday shows thousands of people taking part in the annual torch-lit march. In a statement published by the White House, Biden said: "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. 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. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms." Biden's statement was criticised by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Turkey rejects that the events of 1915 amounted to genocide.