Trump again declines to describe mass killings of Armenians as genocide

Greg Nash

President Trump on Tuesday commemorated the 1915 mass slaughter of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, but again kept with past precedent in declining to call it genocide. 

Trump issued a statement for Armenian Remembrance Day, which marks the anniversary of Meds Yeghern, when 1.5 million Armenians were deported, massacred or marched to their deaths by Ottoman forces. 

“As we honor the memory of those who suffered, we also reflect on our commitment to ensure that such atrocities are not repeated,” Trump said in a statement. “We underscore the importance of acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past as a necessary step towards creating a more tolerant future.”

{mosads}Trump acknowledged the efforts of former U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, in attempting to aid the Armenian people.

The use of the term “genocide” as it relates to the Armenian killings has long been a hot-button issue. 

The Turkish government has avoided the label to describe the actions of the Ottoman forces in 1915, but Armenian-American groups and other advocates have urged U.S. presidents to call the act genocide.

More than 100 U.S. lawmakers signed a letter calling on Trump to acknowledge during this year’s anniversary that Meds Yeghern was genocide.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on Trump to end America’s “Turkey First” approach to Meds Yeghern.

The Washington-based Armenian Assembly of America also criticized Trump for not properly recognizing the event, calling it a “sad day.”

“U.S. credibility on human rights and genocide prevention will be better served when we unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide. A genocide denied is an injustice to all,” said Bryan Ardouny, the group’s executive director.

Previous presidents, including former President Obama, also refused to call the mass killings a genocide. Obama, however, had promised during his election campaign to use the term, while Trump never made such a pledge. 

Tags Armenian Genocide Armenian Genocide recognition Armenia–Turkey relations Armenia–United States relations Donald Trump Genocides Turkey

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