WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian underscored the Armenian American community’s long-standing call on President Obama to honor his pledge to speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide, following Pope Francis’ powerful remarks during the unprecedented Vatican mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of that crime.
“Pope Francis’ historic sermon on the Armenian Genocide sets the stage for President Obama to honor his own pledge to recognize this horrific crime,” stated Hamparian. “By openly rejecting Turkey’s gag-rule against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, President Obama would, with a bold stroke, end a truly shameful era of complicity in Ankara’s efforts to deny the truth and obstruct justice for this crime. Such a principled position by President Obama would put America back on the right side of this issue, while also advancing U.S. regional interests in fostering a better future for Armenian-Turkish relations based upon an honest reckoning with the past.”
Prior to his election to the oval office, President Obama was clear and unequivocal in his pledge to properly characterize the murder of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children from 1915-1923 by the Ottoman Turkish government as genocide. “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,” stated then Senator Obama in a January 19, 2008, statement.
Since his election in 2008, President Obama has yet to honor that pledge, succumbing to Turkey’s threats. President Obama is expected to make a statement on the topic on April 24, 2015, the international day of commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Earlier today, in remarks delivered at the opening of the commemorative mass, Pope Francis clearly and unequivocally reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide, stating, “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century”, struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered.”
Pope Francis went on to state that, “It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”