April 24th Statement a Missed Opportunity to Unequivocally Reaffirm the Armenian Genocide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, while President Donald Trump’s April 24th statement reflects a dictionary definition of the Armenian Genocide, it falls short of President Ronald Reagan’s declarative statement on the Genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
“It is a sad day when an American President cannot speak the truth about a proud chapter in American history, where, thanks to America’s unprecedented humanitarian relief effort, thousands and thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide were saved in what Ambassador Henry Morgenthau described as a ‘campaign of race extermination,'” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “U.S. credibility on human rights and genocide prevention will be better served when we unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide. A genocide denied is an injustice to all,” Ardouny concluded.
In 1981, President Reagan squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, stating that “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it – and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.” This accurately reflects America’s values and record of speaking out against genocide.
To date, almost every U.S. state has issued a proclamation or resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, honoring the lives lost as a result.
This morning, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in Washington, D.C. on an official visit, acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in a statement to Armenian President Armen Sarkissian.
“With you, we remember April 24, 1915 and the murder of 600 intellectuals in Constantinople that evidenced the start of the first genocide of the 20th century. We will never forget those murdered men, women and children who perished on the road to exile, from hunger, the cold and emaciation,” President Macron said. “The memory of the Genocide and the significance of its lessons pertain to all of us. Today, on the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, I convey to you and your people my most heartfelt regards.”
Through a state-of-the-art online museum and the Armenian National Institute (ANI) website dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation, which had over 7.5 million hits last year alone, the Assembly remains committed to genocide education, awareness, and prevention. The interactive site invites visitors to explore the story of the Armenian people and its fateful experience in 1915, and serves on the frontlines against genocide denial. A new page features the ground-breaking digital exhibit on the YMCA and American relief efforts during the first republic in Armenia. ANI also launched a Turkish language version of its educational website to provide further access for Turkish-speaking audiences.
American Relief in the First Republic of Armenia 1918-1920
President Trump’s April 24th statement comes at a time when Turkey has escalated its disregard for American democratic values, acting more like an adversary than a U.S. ally. Less than a year ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bodyguards attacked peaceful protesters in our nation’s capital. In an effort to further muzzle legislators, such as Parliamentarian Garo Paylan, the Turkish Parliament banned anyone from mentioning the Armenian Genocide in Parliament. Ankara also continues to interfere with the Armenian Patriarchal elections and discriminates against Christians and other minorities on a daily basis.
As Armenians across the world commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, President Erdogan issued a statement blatantly denying the Genocide. Refusing to acknowledge this historical fact, the statement instead distorts the history of Ottoman Turkey for Armenians and Turks alike. Meanwhile, in a further disturbing development, the Governorship of Istanbul has prohibited an Armenian Genocide commemoration event.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.