President Bush Fails to Recognize Armenian Genocide Once More

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–Ignoring calls from a record two hundred and ten US legislators–President Bush failed–once again–to honor his pledge to properly characterize the Armenian genocide as a "genocide" in his annual April 24 remarks.

In a statement issued on April 24–the President again resorted to the use of evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the reality of Turkey’s genocide against the Armenian people between 1915-1923. In retreating from his promise–the President ignored the counsel of the one hundred and seventy-eight Representatives and thirty-two Senators who had written letters urging him to properly characterize the Armenian genocide.

"While we appreciate the President’s willingness to join with Armenia’s around the world by issuing a statement on this occasion–we remain deeply troubled by his continued use of evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the moral–historical–and legal meaning of Turkey’s genocide against the Armenian people," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "This statement–sadly–once again–represents a form of complicity in the Turkish government’s shameful campaign to deny a crime against humanity."

The ANCA also expressed concern that the Administration’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide reflects a broader unwillingness to confront genocide–as evidenced by the White House’s failure to take decisive steps to bring an end to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. The ANCA is working with a broad coalition of organizations to pressure the Administration to respond in a timely and meaningful way to the worsening crisis in Darfur. "If we are to end the cycle of genocide–we must–as a nation–generate the resolve to forcefully intervene to stop genocide when it takes place–to unequivocally reject its denial–to hold the guilty accountable–and to secure for the victims the justice they deserve," added Hamparian.

In February of 2000–then presidential candidate George W. Bush–campaigning for votes among Armenian voters in the Michigan Republican primary–pledged to properly characterize the genocidal campaign against the Armenian people. In his statemen’s as President–he has consistently avoided any clear reference to the Armenian genocide–and his Administration has consistently opposed legislation marking this crime against humanity.

The text of the President’s remarks is provided below.

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

On Armenian Remembrance Day–we remember the forced exile and mass killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenia’s during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. This terrible event is what many Armenian people have come to call the "Great Calamity." I join my fellow Americans and Armenian people around the world in expressing my deepest condolences for this horrible loss of life. Today–as we commemorate the 90th anniversary of this human tragedy and reflect on the suffering of the Armenian people–we also look toward a promising future for an independent Armenian state.

The United States is grateful for Armenia’s contributions to the war on terror and to efforts to build a democratic and peaceful Iraq. We remain committed to supporting the historic reforms Armenia has pursued for over a decade. We call on the Government of Armenia to advance democratic freedoms that will further advance the aspirations of the Armenian people. We remain committed to a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We also seek a deeper partnership with Armenia that includes security cooperation and is rooted in the shared values of democratic and market economic freedoms.

I applaud individuals in Armenia and Turkey who have sought to examine the historical events of the early 20th century with honesty and sensitivity. The recent analysis by the International Center for Transitional Justice did not provide the final word–yet marked a significant step toward reconciliation and restoration of the spirit of tolerance and cultural richness that has connected the people of the Caucasus and Anatolia for centuries. We look to a future of freedom–peace–and prosperity in Armenia and Turkey and hope that Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent proposal for a joint Turkish-Armenian commission can help advance these processes.

Millions of Americans proudly trace their ancestry to Armenia. Their faith–traditions–and patriotism enrich the cultural–political–and economic life of the United States. I appreciate all individuals who work to promote peace–tolerance–and reconciliation. On this solemn day of remembrance–I send my best wishes and expressions of solidarity to Armenian people around the world.

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