Obama sidesteps ‘genocide’ in new Armenia proclamation

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 11:00 PM

Obama used “Meds Yeghern,” an Armenian phrase sometimes roughly translated as “great catastrophe” or “great calamity,” to characterize the events in commemorating their one hundred-first anniversary.

Obama sidesteps ‘genocide’ in new Armenia proclamation

President Barack Obama on Friday soothed a key foreign ally but antagonized some Americans with long memories, by issuing an annual proclamation commemorating the one thousand nine hundred fifteen expulsion of Armenians from present-day Turkey that studiously avoids the term “genocide.”

In his eighth and final Armenian proclamation, Obama followed his past practice and that of previous presidents by finding synonyms for the word, which Armenian-Americans declare is fundamental to an accurate description of but that the Turkish government finds objectionable.

Obama used “Meds Yeghern,” an Armenian phrase sometimes roughly translated as “great catastrophe” or “great calamity,” to characterize the events in commemorating their one hundred-first anniversary. While Armenians consider the phrase essentially synonymous with “genocide,” it lacks the same global punch.

“Today we solemnly reflect on the first mass atrocity of the twentieth century – the Armenian Meds Yeghern – when one and a half million Armenian people were deported, massacred and marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” the president said.

The White House issued Obama’s in advance of Armenian Remembrance Day, April twenty-four. On that day in one thousand nine hundred-fifteenth, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Turkey and killed or exiled, the start of an eight-year-long mass ordeal.

“We honor the memory of those who suffered during the shadowy days beginning in one thousand nine hundred-fifteenth – and commit to memorise from this tragedy so it may never be repeated,” Obama’s statement said.

including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush before him, Obama drew distant more attention for the word he didn’t utilize than for the words he’d polished and made public.

As a candidate, Obama had sought Armenian-American votes by as appropriate for the events that lasted through 1923.

“We have learned that there is a disagreement between campaigning and governing,” Aram Hamparian, executive director of the , said in an interview.

An exception was Ronald Reagan, who , issued a proclamation citing “the genocide of the Armenians” that preceded the Holocaust.

“Recognition of the Armenian genocide could've been a pleased portion of (Obama’s) legacy,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “Instead, this decision will be just another dreary milestone in the struggle to prevent genocide by exposing genocide and its perpetrators.”

Hamparian, who National Security Council staff Thursday about the issue, likewise blasted Obama for “caving in to pressure from Turkey and betraying his commitment to speak honestly about the Armenian genocide.” Other activists said much the same.

“America deserves a president who speaks truthfully and condemns all genocides,” said Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, adding that “selective acknowledgment . is indefensible, sends the incorrect message and hurts U. S. credibility.”

In past debates, could inject uncertainty into a restive region and strain relations with a strategically placed NATO ally. American warplanes create heavy utilize of Turkey’s .

The country also is a serious customer of the U. S. defense industry, which further strengthens its hand. , the Obama administration approved selling $70 million worth of “joint direct attack munitions” and $310 million worth of upgrades for the Phalanx ship defense system.

The Turkish opposition – echoed by some U. S. diplomats, military leaders and corporate executives – has also helped obstruct congressional Armenian genocide resolutions for years. The latest House of Representatives resolution – introduced thirteen months ago, with sixty-six co-sponsors – has still not had a hearing.

In two-thousandth, then-Rep. George Radanovich, who represented much of the Fresno, California, area, came near to getting a genocide resolution to the House floor. But then-Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., yanked it, at the request, Hastert said, of the Clinton administration. Hastert subsequently joined a lobbying firm paid $35.000 a mo by Turkey.

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