Obama Refers to ‘Medz Yeghern’ on April 24

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WASHINGTON — On April 24, President Barack Obama commemorated the victims of the Armenian Genocide by reiterating his position that his views on the Armenian Genocide have not changed, stating that “a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests,” reported the Armenian Assembly of America.

As he did last year, the President also acknowledged that the “Meds Yeghern” is commemorated in the United States “by our states, institutions, communities, and families.”

Said Obama, “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Nations grow stronger by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past, thereby building a foundation for a more just and tolerant future. We appreciate this lesson in the United States, as we strive to reconcile some of the darkest moments in our own history. We recognize those courageous Armenians and Turks who have already taken this path, and encourage more to do so, with the backing of their governments, and mine.

“The history and legacy of the Armenian people is marked by an indomitable spirit, and a great resiliency in the face of tremendous adversity and suffering. The United States is stronger for the contributions Armenian-Americans have made to our society, our culture, and our communities. In small measure we return that contribution by supporting the Armenian people as they work toward building a nation that would make their ancestors proud: one that cherishes democracy and respect for human liberty and dignity.

Today we stand with Armenians everywhere in recalling the horror of the Meds Yeghern, honoring the memory of those lost, and affirming our enduring commitment to the people of Armenia.”

The Assembly also expressed it appreciation about the statement of US Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, and the fact that the Administration sent officials to the Armenian Genocide Commemorations held in Yerevan and Istanbul.

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“The cause of genocide affirmation and prevention is a fundamental issue for all of humanity,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. ”While President Obama’s statement builds upon last year’s remarks, only by squarely acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, and confronting Turkey’s denial, can the promise of prevention be realized and truly give meaning to the words ‘never again’.”

The Armenian Naitonal Committee of America (ANCA) expressed its dissatisfaction with the president’s refusal to use the word “genocide.”

“Sadly, President Obama chose today not to lead, but rather to follow Ankara’s gag-rule on his Administration’s condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. His public retreat, under Turkish pressure, comes despite his own pledges to acknowledge this crime and our government’s record, dating back more than half a century, of having recognized the Armenian Genocide as a clear case of genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Our President’s complicity in Turkey’s denial of truth and its ongoing obstruction of justice will not derail our progress toward a truthful, fair, and comprehensive international resolution of Turkey’s still unpunished crime against the Armenian nation.”