US urges 'full' admission of facts in 1915 Armenian killings
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoThe United States April 14 called for a "full, frank" acknowledgement of the facts surrounding the mass killing of Armenians in World War I, but shied away from calling it "a genocide."
Ankara has hit out at Pope Francis for his use of the word in a weekend address, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saying "I condemn this mistake."
"The president and other senior administration officials have repeatedly acknowledged as historical fact, and mourned the fact, that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman empire," State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
They had also stated "that a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests, including Turkey's, Armenia's and America's."
Harf added that "nations are stronger and they progress by acknowledging and reckoning with pretty painful elements of their past."
Such moves were "essential to building a different, more tolerant future," she said.
However, she refused to term the mass killings a genocide, even though during his 2008 campaign for the White House, then senator Barack Obama had pledged to "recognize the Armenian genocide."
Turkey is a key US ally and a fellow member of NATO.
Harf refused to be drawn on what candidate Obama had said, adding reporters should check with the White House as she spoke for the State Department.