Trump refuses to call genocide the mass killings of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks during World War One
By Julio Severo
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.
“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.
“We consider that the misinformation and false definitions contained in U.S. President Trump’s written statement of April 24, 2017 regarding the 1915 events are derived from the information pollution created over the years by some Armenian circles in the U.S. by means of propaganda methods,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We expect from the new U.S. Administration not to accredit the one-sided historical narrative of these circles which are known for their tendency to violence and hate speech and to adopt an approach which will take into consideration the sufferings of all sides,” the statement read.
In contrast, 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.”
“We join with Members of Congress in calling upon President Trump to reject Turkey’s gag rule and embrace an honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. “It’s long past time for America to stop outsourcing our national policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian and anti-American regime.”
In calling upon President Trump to properly mark April 24th, the signatories highlighted the U.S. record of past recognition, including “President Reagan, who recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1981.”
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.”
The Turkish government has resisted the genocide label for the actions of the Muslim forces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, but Armenian-American groups have long urged U.S. presidents to change course.
“The president’s statement fails to stand up for human rights and is inconsistent with American values, and represents the same kind of capitulation to Turkish authoritarianism which will cost more lives,” said Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian, co-chairs of the Armenian Assembly of America, on Trump’s statement.
The group called for an investigation into “surreptitious Turkish influence on the U.S. government.”
Christian group are not happy about Trump’s behavior.
“Sadly, he ended his first 100 days in office on the most shameful of notes, and has cemented his position as the ultimate Washington politician,” Steve Oshana, executive director of the Middle East Christian advocacy group A Demand for Action, wrote on Facebook after seeing Trump’s statement.
For years, concerns about angering Turkey, a U.S. ally, and strong lobbying efforts by the Turks have blocked attempts to change official U.S. government policy to acknowledge the genocide. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan did use the term in office, but George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama shied away from it, even fighting congressional efforts to endorse it.
“The statement that was put out is consistent with the statements that have been put out for at least several of the past administrations,” said Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, speaking on Trump. “So I think if you look back to the language that President Obama, President Bush, etc., have used, the language that the president used is consistent with all of that.”
Trump crafted an image of himself as a gutsy outsider on the campaign trail and in doing so had raised expectations that he might challenge the taboo, Oshana said. But his statement reflected the power that neocons ― who include the “swamp” that he pledged to drain ― retain in the U.S. government.
Trump has distanced himself from this campaign views against neocons and he has tried to forge a closer bond with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even phoning him last week to congratulate him on a contested referendum that was criticized as an authoritarian power grab.
The White House later said the two leaders mostly discussed joint counterterrorism efforts. This is very strange, because as an Islamic nation, Turkey does not fight terrorism, especially from ISIS. According to a 2014 WND (WorldNetDaily) report, “Turkey backs ISIS to eliminate Assad.”
ISIS has committed genocide against Christians in Syria and Iraq. According to Trump, Obama founded ISIS. And Obama worked closely with Turkey. So if Trump refuses the term “genocide” to please Turkey and has this Islamic nation as an ally against ISIS, is not he helping the ISIS genocide against Christians? To have Islamic Turkey as an ally against Islamic terror is so insane as to have the Nazi Germany as an ally against Nazism or have the Soviet Union as an ally against Soviet Marxism.
Armenia was the first officially Christian nation in the world. Armenia, as a Christian Orthodox nation, is allied with Russia, the largest Christian Orthodox nation in the world.
Because the United States is the largest Protestant nation in the world, Trump could have an alliance with Armenia and Russia against Islamic terrorism, and this was his intent in 2016, but now he is privileging an insane alliance with Islamic Turkey and Saudi Arabia to fight the Islamic terrorism created and supported by the Saudi and Turkish Muslims.
If Trump cannot recognize as genocide the slaughters of Christians by Muslims 100 years ago, how can he be able to recognize current genocides against Christians? How can he be able to recognize that Islam was and is a genocide machine against Christians?
So far, just 23 nations have recognized the Armenian genocide, among them France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Greece, Russia, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Bolivia.
“Today, on the day of remembrance of the Armenian genocide victims, we note the need to remember our holy martyrs,” stated Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Monday
In 2015 Russian President Putin was the only president of a major power to attend commemorations of 100 years of Armenian Genocide in 1915. The commemorations were held at the Armenian Genocide Memorial on Tsitsernakaberd Hill, in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, to pay tribute to the genocide victims.
In the occasion, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was angered at Putin for calling the mass killing of Christian Armenians by Turkish Muslims a genocide. He said, “It’s not the first time Russia used the word genocide on this issue. I’m personally sad that Putin took such a step.”
An estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 66 towns and 2,500 villages were massacred; 2,350 churches and monasteries were looted, and 1,500 schools and colleges were destroyed.
Yet, Muslims in Turkey and in other nations understate and deny that Armenian Christians suffered a genocide, just as neo-Nazi groups understate and deny the Holocaust against the Jews and ultra-radical Catholics understate and deny the Inquisition against the Jews and Protestants.
With information from Washington Times, The Hill, Armenian Weekly, Sputnik News, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Huffington Post, DailyMail, Associated Press and Tert.
Portuguese version of this article: Trump recusa chamar de genocídio as matanças em massa de cristãos armênios cometidas por turcos muçulmanos na Primeira Guerra Mundial
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