Obama Broke Promise Over Massacres: Armenia Group


Agence France Presse
April 26, 2009 Sunday

A group representing Armenians in Europe fiercely criticised US
President Barack Obama for having broken a promise to describe the
1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

quot;President Obama did not honour his promise to use the term
‘genocide’… as he promised to do many times before his election,quot;
said a statement from the Brussels-based Euro-Armenian Federation
after the president’s statement Friday.

He had dashed the hopes of millions of Americans and Europeans who
wanted the US president to break with quot;the cynical practices of
his predecessors,quot; the statement continued.

quot;He also casts discredit on his own word and on the credibility
of the United States in the world in general and in the southern
Caucasus in particular,quot; it said.

On Friday, Obama followed recent US diplomatic tradition by issuing a
written statement on Armenian Remembrance Day, branding the killings
of more than 1.5 million people as quot;one of the great atrocities
of the 20th century.quot;

The figure of 1.5 million is disputed by Turkey.

But Obama did not call the massacres quot;genocide,quot; despite
having vowed to use that exact term during his run for the White House.

He used instead the Armenian term for the killings, quot;Meds
Yeghernquot; which has been variously translated as quot;The Great
Calamityquot; or quot;Great Disaster.quot;

On Saturday, Turkey’s foreign ministry criticised Obama’s statement as
quot;unbalancedquot; and that it made no mention of the quot;several
hundreds of thousands of Turksquot; killed in the fighting.

Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were victims of systematic
killings from 1915, and many countries, including Canada and France,
have officially recognised the killings as such.

Turkey rejects the genocide label, arguing that 300,000-500,000
Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when
Armenians took up arms in eastern Anatolia and sided with invading
Russian troops.

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