U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday marked the Ottoman Turks’ century-old massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, but declined to label it a genocide.
Armenian doctors hanged in Aleppo Square, 1916
“Today, we remember and honor the memory of those who suffered during the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” Trump said in a statement. “I join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the loss of innocent lives and the suffering endured by so many.”
Such a declaration, even though avoiding the term “genocide” and refusing to mention that the killers were Muslim and the victims were Christian, angered Turkey, whose cooperation Trump seeks against the Syrian government. …
Many Armenian-Americans, including Kim Kardashian, have protested the U.S. government’s omission. Kardashian has called for the use of the word “genocide” and compared a refusal to use it to Holocaust denial.
Previous presidents, including former President Barack Obama, also refused to call the mass killings a genocide. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton avoided the term “genocide” after pledging during their campaigns to recognize it as such.
On April 10, in a bipartisan letter calling upon the President to “appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” more than eighty U.S. congressmen said that “by commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.” …
The letter specifically cites Christian populations targeted by the Ottoman Empire’s genocidal campaign, including “Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples.”