The Boston Globe
April 25, 2009 Saturday

In twist, Obama sidesteps `genocide' label

WASHINGTON - President Obama yesterday refrained from branding the
massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey a
``genocide,'' breaking a campaign promise while maintaining that his
views about the World War I slaughter had not changed.

The phrasing of Obama's written statement attracted heightened
scrutiny because of the sensitivity of the issue and because the two
countries on Wednesday announced a road map for normalizing relations
after years of tension. The administration coordinated its statement
about the apparent breakthrough with the Turkish government and Swiss

Most scholars consider the deaths of the Armenians in the final days
of the Ottoman Empire the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey,
however, steadfastly denies that a genocide occurred, arguing the
death toll has been vastly inflated.

Marking the 94th anniversary of the start of the killings, the
president referred to them as ``one of the great atrocities of the
20th century.''

``History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible
events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man's inhumanity to
man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of
reconciliation,'' he said in the statement. ``I have consistently
stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that
history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a
full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts.''

For Obama, referring to the killings as genocide could have upended
recent pledges of a closer partnership with Turkey, a vital US ally in
a critical region.

Maneuvering around the word, however, put him at odds with his own
pledges to recognize the slaughter as genocide.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress