Rejecting Turkey’s Armenian Genocide Gag-Rule:
Proper U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide would represent a long overdue break with the practice of past Presidents who – since the principled stand taken by President Reagan in 1981 – have sadly given in to pressure from the Turkish government, resorting to euphemisms and evasive terminology to describe this crime against humanity. No foreign government has the right to impose a gag-rule on America, to exercise veto against our U.S. President, or to demand that America compromise our international moral leadership.
The historical record – including our own U.S. archives – document that the Ottoman Empire, between 1915 and 1923, intentionally and systematically undertook the genocidal destruction of its Christian minorities. Millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other Christians were murdered and millions more were forced into exile from their biblical-era homelands. The American people and government played a major role in caring for the survivors of this crime, many of whom eventually found safe haven in America. Sadly, the world today is, once again, witnessing similar atrocities, in this very same region, committed by ISIS and other extremists, against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities.
Appropriate and accurate remembrance of the Armenian Genocide would reaffirm past U.S. recognition of this crime, including the Eisenhower Administration’s 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice, President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Proclamation (No. 4838), and legislation adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives, HJR148 adopted (April 8, 1975) and HJR247 (September 10, 1984). More broadly, an honest reckoning with the Armenian Genocide – by the United States and eventually by Turkey itself – will contribute to the reduction of regional tensions and create opportunities for the sustainable development of Armenian-Turkish relations. It is in this spirit of peace and justice, and in the hopes that our nation will stand up to foreign pressure on this human rights issue, that the ANCA calls on the Trump Administration to accurately and explicitly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide.