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Trump follows Obama’s suit, avoids term ‘genocide’

Trump follows Obama’s suit, avoids term ‘genocide’

PanARMENIAN.Net - President Trump on Monday, April 24 marked the Ottoman Turks’ century-old massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, but declined to label it a genocide, keeping with the practice of past administrations, The Hill reports.

“Today, we remember and honor the memory of those who suffered during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” Trump said in a statement. “I join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many.”

Previous presidents, including former President Obama, also refused to call the mass killings a genocide. Obama, however, had promised during his election campaign to use the term, while Trump never made such a pledge.

Trump's statement is an important gesture to Turkey, a NATO ally and key partner in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The Turkish government has long resisted the genocide label for the actions of the Ottoman forces in 1915, but Armenian-American groups have long urged U.S. presidents to change course. More than 80 lawmakers recently sent a letter to Trump pressuring him to use the term.

Trump’s statement acknowledged the heated debate over the term genocide.

“We must remember atrocities to prevent them from occurring again,” he said. “We welcome the efforts of Turks and Armenians to acknowledge and reckon with painful history, which is a critical step toward building a foundation for a more just and tolerant future.”

Trump has tried to forge a closer bond with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, even phoning him last week to congratulate him on a contested referendum that was criticized as an authoritarian power grab.

The White House later said the two leaders mostly discussed joint counterterrorism efforts.

Photo: AFP
The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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