April 24th Statement Avoids ‘Genocide’ Characterization
WASHINGTON—In yet another disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats, President Obama today once again failed to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide, offering euphemisms and evasive terminology to characterize this crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Today we join with Armenians in the United States and around the world in voicing our sharp disappointment with the president’s failure to properly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” stated ANCA chairman Ken Hachikian. “After more than a year of Turkey’s manipulation of the Obama Administration’s policy on this core human rights issue, and the collapse of even the pretense of progress of any sort coming from Ankara, President Obama faced a stark choice: to honor his conscience and commitment to recognize the Armenian Genocide or to remain an accomplice to Turkey’s denial of truth and justice for this crime. Sadly, for the U.S. and worldwide efforts to end the cycle of genocide, he made the wrong choice, allowing Turkey to tighten its gag-rule on American genocide policy.”
As a Senator and presidential candidate, Obama pledged repeatedly to recognize the Armenian Genocide and promised “unstinting resolve” to end the Darfur Genocide, stating, “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.” View his record on the issue at http://www.anca.org/change/docs/Obama_Armenian_Genocide.pdf.
Since then, while stating that his personal views of the events of 1915 have not changed, Obama has refrained from properly characterizing this crime against humanity and going so far as to oppose Congressional Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.252), which he had pledged to support during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In contrast to his remarks in 2009, the president chose not to use the April 24th statement as a platform to push the flawed Turkey-Armenia protocols process, stalled by Turkey’s reconditions related to the Nagorno-Karabagh negotiations and shameful efforts to use the protocols to block international affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. The ANCA, in an April 7 letter urging the president to honor his genocide pledge, asked the White House to “mark this day sincerely and not, as has too often been the case, to view it as an opportunity to present a policy statement on the region.” The letter continued to note that an “explanation of U.S. priorities regarding Armenia-Turkey relations or other current foreign policy issues, while certainly entirely appropriate in other settings, clearly does not belong in a presidential April 24th statement, just as a statement of U.S. policy on the Israel-Arab peace process would not be appropriate in presidential remarks devoted to remembering the Holocaust.”
To view Obama’s complete statement, click here.