White House Briefs Armenian American Leaders about the President’s Decision to Exclude “Armenian Genocide” from his April 24th Centennial Statement
WASHINGTON—President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes confirmed to Armenian American leaders, during a White House meeting this afternoon, that the President has chosen against recognizing the Armenian Genocide in his April 24th statement marking the worldwide centennial of this crime.
“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.
“With the world’s attention drawn this April 24th to worldwide Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations, President Obama will, tragically, use the moral standing of our nation not to defend the truth, but rather to enforce of a foreign power’s gag-rule. He has effectively outsourced America’s policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan,” said Hachikian.
“As Americans of Armenian heritage – despite the repeated surrender of President Obama to foreign pressure – we will, with our allies, continue to work, with increased vigor and determination, to build American support for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” he added.
Prior to his election to the oval office, President Obama was clear and unequivocal in promising to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s murder of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. In a January 19, 2008, statement he wrote: “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
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.