Will the U.S. Recognize the Armenian Genocide?

Posted on March 21, 2009 by

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By Alison Amorello

As President Obama prepares to visit Turkey on April 5, the administration is hesitating on the promised presidential declaration that the Armenians were victims of genocide in 1915.

American presidents have refrained from referring to the massacres as genocide for many years in order to avoid conflict with Turkey, leaving Armenian Americans without justice.

More than 1.5 million Armenians were murdered during the systematic killings by the Ottoman Turks as the empire dissolved during World War I. Historians and more than 20 countries recognize the events as genocide. However, Turkey and select supporters deny the fact, claiming that the deaths were the result of a war.

President Obama’s position on the issue was made very clear throughout his campaign, repeatedly declaring the killings as genocide. But the world will be watching to see if he remains firm while standing on Turkish soil.

The Obama administration would like to use Turkey for a number of things including the military supply line for Afghanistan and more help in Iraq. Officially recognizing the genocide would enrage the Turkish government and leave the U.S. without their help.

Administration officials may choose to postpone the declaration in hopes that Turkish-Armenian relations are on the verge repair. They would like to facilitate a dialog between the two countries, feeling optimistic that both sides will come to terms with their dark past.

Unfortunately, Armenian Americans and supporters believe that efforts to avoid offending Turkey only encourage their denial.

The Armenian community is hopeful and confident that President Obama will remain faithful to his word.

The upcoming month will determine whether President Obama will be the first to end the Armenian suffering, or just the next on a long list of Presidents who awaited a more convenient time to tell the truth.

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