WH won't call Armenian killings 'genocide'

WH won't call Armenian killings 'genocide'
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The White House again will not use the term “genocide” to describe the Ottoman Turks’ massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915.
 
Senior administration officials met with leaders from the Armenian-American community Tuesday to discuss the 100th anniversary commemoration of the killings, but a statement summarizing the meeting did not contain the word “genocide.”
 
The U.S. “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,” National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said. 
 
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As a candidate in 2008, Obama promised to describe the mass killing of Armenians as a genocide. But he has not used the term since becoming president. 
 
Turkey, an ally of the U.S., has refused to call the killings a genocide, and some officials have denied the scope of the massacres. 
 
The decision angered Armenian-American leaders who participated in the White House meeting. 
 
"President Obama's surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace,” Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Ken Hachikian said in a statement. “It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust.”
 
An intense lobbying battle between Armenian and Turkish interests broke out last month over a resolution in Congress that would label the killings a genocide. 
 
 
“The United States has long prided itself for being a beacon of human rights, for speaking out against atrocity, for confronting painful chapters of its own past and that of others,” he said in a statement. “This cannot be squared with a policy of complicity in genocide denial by the president or Congress.”
 
A senior administration official said Obama is expected to make a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the killings on Friday. 
 
“We know and respect that there are some who are hoping to hear different language this year,” said the official, who spoke anonymously. “We understand their perspective, even as we believe that the approach we have taken in previous years remains the right one — both for acknowledging the past, and for our ability to work with regional partners to save lives in the present.”
 
 
National Security Adviser Susan Rice met separately Tuesday with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, encouraging him to "take concrete steps to improve relations with Armenia and to facilitate an open and frank dialogue in Turkey about the atrocities of 1915," Meehan said.
 
- Updated at 8:25 p.m.