WASHINGTON—President Obama, once again, used euphemistic language and verbal gymnastics to characterize the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in his annual April 24th remembrance day statement, breaking his pledge as Senator and Presidential candidate to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as President.
“President Obama today completed his surrender to Turkey, shamefully outsourcing U.S. human rights policy to a foreign state, and tightening Ankara’s gag on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “The President’s capitulation to Turkey – on this, the last April 24th of his term – represents the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to Armenian Americans and to all the citizens of our nation. President Obama’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide stands today as a stark lie, a painful promise etched on the hearts of all who had hoped and worked for change, but who, today, have been betrayed by a politician who failed to live up to his own words.”
The complete text of President Obama’s statement is below.
Obama’s Pledge to Recognize the Armenian Genocide:
As Senator and presidential candidate, President Obama consistently and repeatedly urged former President Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide, and pledged, as President, to recognize that crime. In a January, 2008, statement, then Senator Obama clearly stated, “as President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
International Affirmation of the Armenian Genocide:
More than 20 countries and 42 U.S. states and have properly recognized the Armenian Genocide, the listing of which follows.
Countries: Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, The Vatican and Venezuela. Other International Affirmation includes the European Parliament and the UN Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
U.S. States: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
The U.S. House adopted Armenian Genocide legislation in 1975 and 1984 and included reference to the crime in House adopted amendments in 1996 and 2005. More recently, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed Armenian Genocide legislation in 2007 and 2010.
The Republic of Turkey continues its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, issuing economic and political threats against countries who properly characterize the crime. Those threats have largely been hollow, with economic trade data showing a marked increase in trade with Turkey after the Genocide has been recognized. More information on the trade data
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2012
Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day
Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In doing so, we honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. As we reflect on the unspeakable suffering that took place 97 years ago, we join millions who do the same across the globe and here in America, where it is solemnly commemorated by our states, institutions, communities, and families. Through our words and our deeds, it is our obligation to keep the flame of memory of those who perished burning bright and to ensure that such dark chapters of history are never repeated.
I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915. My view of that history has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Moving forward with the future cannot be done without reckoning with the facts of the past. The United States has done so many times in our own history, and I believe we are stronger for it. Some individuals have already taken this courageous step forward. We applaud those Armenians and Turks who have taken this path, and we hope that many more will choose it, with the support of their governments, as well as mine.
Although the lives that were taken can never be returned, the legacy of the Armenian people is one of triumph. Your faith, courage, and strength have enabled you to survive and prosper, establishing vibrant communities around the world. Undaunted, you have preserved your patrimony, passing it from generation to generation. Armenian-Americans have made manifold contributions to the vibrancy of the United States, as well as critical investments in a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future for Armenia. The United States is proud of your heritage, and your contributions honor the memory of those who senselessly suffered and died nearly a century ago.
On this solemn day of remembrance, we stand alongside all Armenians in recalling the darkness of the Meds Yeghern and in committing to bringing a brighter future to the people of Armenia.