Turkish Embassy Vexed by White House’s Reference to Armenian Genocide

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany pictured during Monday’s press briefing

Editor’s note: In a statement to our west coast counterpart Asbarez early Wednesday morning, a White House official said its policy on the Armenian Genocide remains “unchanged.” “The President has reaffirmed that the Meds Yeghern was a historic atrocity and tragedy for the Armenian people, as well as our commitment to stand with the Armenian people,” said the official. In response, the ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian commented, “In the wake of bipartisan Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and in the context of Erdogan’s increasingly open hostility to our U.S. national interests, the Trump Administration is doubling down on the practice of past administrations–Democratic and Republican–by enforcing a foreign gag-rule against honest American remembrance of this crime against all humanity.”

WASHINGTON, DC—The Turkish Embassy in Washington has dismissed the White House’s recent reference to the Armenian Genocide.

John Haltiwanger, senior politics reporter for Business Insider, reported on Tuesday that the Turkish Embassy in Washington believes the statement made by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was “an unfortunate slip of the tongue” and that “these expressions cannot be accepted.” Haltiwanger tweeted that he was also told by Turkish Embassy officials that the “allegations of the events of 1915…do not rest on any legal or historical facts.” 

The Turkish Embassy’s denial and public reaction to the Trump administration’s first-time use of the g-word follow McEnany’s answer to a reporter’s question during Monday’s press briefing at the White House. McEnany was asked to elaborate on President Trump’s recent comments that today’s problems surrounding racial injustice are caused by “extreme indoctrination and bias in the education system.” “There seems to be a lack of understanding and historical knowledge when the Armenian Genocide Memorial, remembering victims of all crimes against humanity including slavery, is vandalized,” responded the newly-minted member of the Trump administration while reading from her prepared remarks. McEnany was presumably alluding to the khachkar at the site of the Colorado State Capitol, which was vandalized with graffiti in late May during nationwide protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.

The US government has yet to officially characterize the events of 1915 as genocide, despite last year’s bipartisan recognition of the crime from both houses of Congress. “We may be witnessing, in this one-off statement, the first steps toward an all-of-government recognition of the Armenian Genocide – the clear consequence of last year’s near-unanimous passage of H.Res.296 and S.Res.150,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Our success in navigating adoption of these two landmark measures cemented the broad-based, bipartisan consensus among Democrats and Republicans, in the House and Senate and among 49 of our 50 US states that Turkey does not deserve and will not get a veto over US policy on the Armenian Genocide,” continued Hamparian.

The Trump administration’s position on the Armenian Genocide has consistently fallen short of properly condemning the crime as genocide. Official commemorative statements every April 24th, like those of his predecessors, have always omitted the terminology.

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Assistant Editor
Leeza Arakelian is the former assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She is a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.

1 Comment

  1. Until end of the world they can deny Genocide, but, Turkey approval on S.D.N. and Sevres treaty plus territorial solution is Irrevocable with BIG US SEAL.

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