Obama holocaust speech fuels Armenian ire

President Obama came under withering criticism this week from Armenian-Americans after he ignored the century-old massacre of Armenians during a speech Monday at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

The expressions of ire continued Tuesday after the president commemorated the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire without referring to it as genocide. As a presidential candidate, Obama pressed President George W. Bush to recognize the deaths as a genocide but has changed stance since then to avoid upsetting NATO ally Turkey.


"President Obama today completed his surrender to Turkey, shamefully outsourcing U.S. human rights policy to a foreign state, and tightening Ankara's gag on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide," Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Ken Hachikian said in a statement Tuesday. "The President's capitulation to Turkey - on this, the last April 24th of his term - represents the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to Armenian Americans and to all the citizens of our nation."

The group had similarly harsh words following Monday's Holocaust Museum speech, saying the president "undermined his own commitment to 'Never Again'" by failing to mention Armenia.

In Tuesday's speech, called the events of 1915 "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century."

He went on to argue his position hasn't changed over the past three and a half years.

"I have consistently stated my own view of what happened in 1915," he said. "My view of the history has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts is in all of our interests."