WASHINGTON, DC — The White House has described the World War I-era killings of 1.5 million Armenians as a “historical fact,” urging Turkey to face painful elements of its past to build a more tolerant future.
“The President of the United States of America Barack Obama and other senior administration officials have repeatedly acknowledged as historical fact that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” While House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Thursday
In response to a question if Obama is going to use the word “genocide” in his annual statement on April 24, Earnest answered. “We stated earlier that we mourn those deaths and full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts is in the interest of everybody, including Turkey, Armenia and the US. One of the principles that has guided the US administration’s work in this area and the atrocity prevention more broadly has been that nations grow strong by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of their pasts and doing so is essential to building a foundation in a more just and more tolerant future.”
“It has been customary for the president to issue a statement on this terrible historical event on April 24, but I would not anticipate any updates on our policy until then”, Josh Earnest concluded.
Despite his 2008 electoral promise to characterize the 1915 events as genocide, current U.S. President Barack Obama in his previous six addresses has only used the Armenian expression Medz Yeghern, or “great calamity”.