WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes confirmed to Armenian American leaders, during a White House meeting this afternoon, that the President has chosen against recognizing the Armenian Genocide in his April 24th statement marking the worldwide centennial of this crime.
“President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.
“With the world’s attention drawn this April 24th to worldwide Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations, President Obama will, tragically, use the moral standing of our nation not to defend the truth, but rather to enforce of a foreign power’s gag-rule. He has effectively outsourced America’s policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan,” said Hachikian.
Following the meeting, the White House put out a read out for the discussion, the full text of which is provided below.
Prior to his election to the oval office, President Obama was clear and unequivocal in promising to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s murder of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. In a January 19, 2008, statement he wrote: “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.”
Thousands across the US have taken action through the ANCA’s #MarchtoJustice advocacy tool calling on President Obama to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide in his annual April 24th address.
The U.S. first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1951 through a filing which was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”
President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996.
This afternoon Denis McDonough and Ben Rhodes hosted leaders from the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America to discuss the upcoming centennial commemoration of the 1915 atrocities against Armenians. Recalling the deep ties between the Armenian and American peoples, they discussed the significance of this occasion for honoring the 1.5 million lives extinguished during that horrific period, and welcomed the principled advocacy of the Armenian American community on behalf of justice. They pledged that the United States will use the occasion to urge a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts that we believe is in the interest of all parties.
They also noted that the President has asked Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to lead a Presidential Delegation to Yerevan on April 24, to stand in solidarity with the Armenian people as they commemorate this most solemn of anniversaries.