Annual Commemorative Statement Fails to Properly Characterize Armenian Genocide
WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued this response to President Donald Trump’s failure to lead an honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide in his commemorative statement issued earlier today.
President Trump’s ‘Turkey First’ approach tightens Erdogan’s grip over U.S. policy on the genocide of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and other Christians.
In his annual April 24th statement, the President once again enforced Ankara’s gag-rule against honest American condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
In outsourcing U.S. leadership on genocide prevention to Erdogan – who openly undermines U.S. interests, attacks U.S. allies, threatens U.S. troops, imprisons American clergy, and even orders the beating of American citizens – President Trump is emboldening a foreign dictator who revels in the public spectacle of having bullied successive American presidents into silence on Turkey’s still unpunished murder of millions Christians.
Sadly, by caving in to Turkish pressure, President Trump is isolating America, which today stands alone as Ankara’s last genocide-denial lifeline. Forty-eight of our U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide, as have a dozen of our NATO allies – including France and Germany, the European Union, and, of course, Pope Francis.
We will press ahead with our work to end U.S. complicity in Ankara’s obstruction of justice, in order to put in place a U.S. policy that actively pressures Ankara to abandon its denials, reckon with its responsibilities, and engage directly with Armenian stakeholders toward a truthful, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.
The President’s full statement is provided at the end of this news item.
Last week, one hundred and two U.S. Representatives – including the Chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees – called on President Donald Trump to reject Turkey’s gag-rule by honestly and accurately commemorating the Armenian Genocide this April 24th. The letter to President Trump, led by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David Trott (R-MI), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA) as well as Vice-Chairs Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) explained that: “The Armenian Genocide continues to stand as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition and condemnation. Through recognition of the Armenian Genocide we pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of those who survived, as well as to the Americans of Armenian descent who continue to strengthen our country to this day. […] By commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.” They closed by asking that the President: “appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.” A copy of the letter is available here: https://anca.org/assets/pdf/Armenian_Genocide_Trump_Letter_2018.pdf
The U.S. first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1951 through a filing which was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”
President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. Forty eight U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide through resolution or proclamation.
Over 25 countries have recognized the Armenian Genocide, including a dozen of our NATO allies the European Union, and, of course, Pope Francis.
Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Armenian Remembrance Day 2018
Issued on April 24, 2018
Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century, when one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. We recall the horrific events of 1915 and grieve for the lives lost and the many who suffered.
We also take this moment to recognize the courage of those individuals who sought to end the violence, and those who contributed to aiding survivors and rebuilding communities, including the U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, who sought to end the violence and later raised funds through the Near East Relief to help the Armenian people. We note with deep respect the resilience of the Armenian people, so many of whom built new lives in the United States and have made countless contributions to our country.
As we honor the memory of those who suffered, we also reflect on our commitment to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated. We underscore the importance of acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past as a necessary step towards creating a more tolerant future.
On this solemn day, we stand with the Armenian people throughout the world in honoring the memory of those lost and commit to work together to build a better future.