President of the United States (2017-?)
Trump Sticks With Obama’s Policy On Armenian Genocide Issue
Ապրիլ 24, 2017 Emil Danielyan
Echoing statements made by his predecessors, U.S. President Donald Trump declined to describe the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide on Monday, speaking instead of “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.”
“Today, we remember and honor the memory of those who suffered during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” read the written statement issued on the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
“Beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” it said. “I join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many.”
Trump also paid tribute to Armenian Americans’ “indelible contributions” to the United States and said their ancestors had established “one of the great civilizations of antiquity.”
Trump avoided using the politically sensitive word “genocide” despite an appeal from more than 80 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The latter signed a joint letter on April 10 urging him to “properly commemorate” the Armenian genocide anniversary.
The leading Armenian-American advocacy groups were quick to denounce Trump’s apparent desire not to alienate Turkey, a longtime U.S. ally. The Armenian Assembly of America branded his statement as “capitulation to Turkish authoritarianism.”
"President Trump's statement today demonstrates the need for the FBI and the Congressional Intelligence Committees to do thorough investigations of all the evidence on surreptitious Turkish influence on the U.S. government," the Assembly co-chairs, Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian, said in a joint statement.
“In failing to properly mark April 24th, President Trump is effectively outsourcing U.S. genocide-prevention policy to [Turkish President] Recep Erdogan, an arrogant and authoritarian dictator who clearly enjoys the public spectacle of arm-twisting American presidents into silence on Turkey's mass murder of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other Christians,” charged Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Erdogan is scheduled to visit Washington and meet with Trump in the White House on May 16.
Obama promised to recognize the Armenian genocide when he first ran for president. But he backtracked on that pledge after getting elected in 2008.
In an April 2016 statement, Obama referred to “the first mass atrocity of the 20th century.” Still, he also cited in that context views expressed by Pope Francis. The pontiff declared at an April 2015 mass in the Vatican that the Armenian massacres can be considered “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
Trump did not publicly comment on the Armenian genocide issue or seek to woo the Armenian community in the United States otherwise during the 2016 presidential race.
Turkey Unhappy With Trump’s Armenian Genocide Statement
Ապրիլ 25, 2017
Turkey has strongly criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for officially acknowledging that 1.5 million Armenians were deported and killed by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War.
Just like his predecessors, Trump stopped stop short of describing the mass killings as genocide in a statement issued on Monday. He spoke instead of “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.”
“Beginning in 1915, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” added his statement.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced the statement, saying that it contains “misinformation and false definitions” provided by “some Armenian circles in the U.S.”
“We expect from the new U.S. Administration not to accredit the one-sided historical narrative of these circles which are known for their tendency to violence and hate speech and to adopt an approach which will take into consideration the sufferings of all sides,” said a ministry spokesman.
The leading Armenian-American advocacy groups were just as critical of Trump’s statement issued on the 102nd anniversary of the start of the Armenian genocide. They denounced his apparent desire not to anger Turkey, a longtime U.S. ally, with an explicit recognition of the genocide.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush used similar language in their April 24 statements. The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, pointed to this fact when he commented on Trump’s failure to use the word “genocide.”
“I think if you look back to the language that President Obama, President Bush have used, the language the President used is consistent with all of that,” Spicer told reporters in Washington.
Earlier on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again offered his condolences to the descendants of Armenians killed in the Ottoman Empire. But he blamed their deaths on “the harsh conditions of the First World War,” rather than a deliberate government policy of extermination.
The current and former Turkish governments have claimed that Ottoman Armenians died in smaller numbers and as a result of civil strife. They have condemned the 26 nations -- including France, Germany, Italy and Russia -- for officially recognizing the mass killings as genocide to date.
Most Western historians specializing in research of crimes against humanity dismiss the official Turkish position. “The historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence,” the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) said in 2007.