Obama avoids using ‘genocide’ in remarks on Ottoman-era Armenian deaths
US President Barack Obama speaks during the White House science fair. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN
U.S. President Barack Obama avoided using the term “genocide” today in his annual message marking the events of 1915, dubbing the mass killings a “great disaster” (Meds Yeghern).
“Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. Ninety-eight years ago, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” Obama said.
“I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests,” he continued.
Armenians mark April 24 annually as the beginning of the mass killings of their kin during the Ottoman Empire.
Obama shows 'one-sided approach': Turkish Foreign Ministry
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized Obama's message in a statement issued April 24, saying the U.S. president's approach only reflected Armenian views.
"Issued under the influence of domestic political considerations and interpreting controversial historical events on the basis of one-sided information and with a selective sense of justice, such statements damage both Turkish-American relations, and also render it more difficult for Turks and Armenians to reach a just memory," the statement read.
"Our expectation from an important ally of Turkey such as the U.S. is ... to encourage the Armenian side, which avoids objective and scientific research of the issue, to be more realistic and conciliatory," the statement added, noting the readiness of Turkey for the investigation of history.