President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to fulfill a campaign promise and use the politically fraught term on the 100th anniversary of the killings this week. Officials decided against it after opposition from some at the State Department and the Pentagon…
As a senator and presidential candidate, Obama did describe the killings of Armenians as “genocide” and said the U.S. government had a responsibility to recognize them as such. As a candidate in January 2008, Obama pledged to recognize the genocide and at least one of his campaign surrogates — the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power — recorded a nearly five-minute video at the time imploring Armenian-Americans to vote for Obama precisely because he would keep his word on the issue.
But Obama has never used that description since taking office, mainly out of deference to Turkey, a key U.S. partner and NATO ally, which is fiercely opposed to the “genocide” label.
Meanwhile, our stalwart ally continues to be governed by an opportunist hypocrite – doing his best to undermine Turkey’s secular constitution while he courts fundamentalist Islamist voters and activists to stay in power.
Tuesday’s announcement, accompanied by word that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will attend a ceremony in Armenia on Friday to mark the anniversary, was made shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Washington.
In brief comments to reporters at the State Department, neither Kerry nor Cavusoglu mentioned Armenia or the upcoming April 24 anniversary…
Historians estimate up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks, an event widely viewed by scholars as genocide. Turkey, however, denies the deaths constituted genocide and says the death toll has been inflated.
Too bad Armenia isn’t as important an imperial ally as Israel. Such denial wouldn’t be tolerated.