WASHINGTON, DC – The Republican Party’s 2008 Presidential nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, has publicly and properly recognized the Armenian Genocide, breaking with his longstanding silence on this human rights issue and, in the process, dramatically underscoring the post-election retreat by his campaign opponent, President Barack Obama, from his high-profile pledge to properly condemn and commemorate this crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“I believe that genocide was committed against the Armenian people, and I think there is ample documentation of that,” Sen. McCain told the Voice of America Georgian language service in an interview focusing on the Caucasus as well as Armenia-Turkey relations.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Sen. McCain issued two statements to the Armenian American community, both falling short of properly characterizing as genocide the Ottoman Turkish Government’s deportation and annihilation of its Armenian community. “It is fair to say that one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, has also been one of the most neglected. The suffering endured by the Armenian people during that period represented the prologue to what has come to be known as humanity’s bloodiest century,” stated Sen. McCain in a September 29, 2008, statement.
In sharp contrast, Senator Barack Obama, during his campaign, clearly and repeatedly promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Once elected, however, the President has thus far not only failed to honor his pledge, but actively cooperated with Turkey to pressure Armenia into accepting a “commission” that calls into question this crime against humanity.
Senator McCain has, throughout his tenure in the Congress, largely opposed or remained indifferent to an array of Armenian American issues. As recently as the last session of Congress, Senator McCain publicly opposed Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 1999, he voted against restricting U.S. aid to Azerbaijan over its blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. He voted against Senator Bob Dole’s Armenian Genocide Resolution in 1990.
Contrary to the views of the majority of the Armenian American community, Sen. McCain supports the controversial Turkey-Armenia Protocols process.