The White House signaled Thursday, April 16 that President Barack Obama won’t use the word “genocide” to describe the killing of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire — continuing to break a longstanding pledge, The Wall Street Journal reports. As a candidate for office, Obama said he would use the word “genocide” to describe the killings. In a strongly worded statement in 2008, Obama said: “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence." He added: “As president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” But since taking office, geopolitical concerns about the strategic relationship with Turkey have kept the Obama administration from fulfilling that 2008 promise. The White House has been under pressure to use the term this year but a spokesman said Thursday, April 16, that there was no shift in its longstanding policy to eschew the term genocide. “The president and other senior administration officials have repeatedly acknowledged as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the finals days of the Ottoman Empire,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “We’ve further stated that we mourn those deaths and that a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in the interest of everybody, including Turkey, Armenia and the United States,” he added. But Earnest said the longstanding position of the U.S. of avoiding the term would likely remain in place when the White House puts out a statement later this month. “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed,” Obama said last year, without using term “genocide.” On Sunday, Pope Francis referred to the mass killings as the “first genocide of the 20th century”.