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Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)

A Non-Profit Organization Registered in the US

with 38,000 Hellenes as members and 36 Hellenic

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April 25 ,2010
The April 24 article "Obama Cites Devastating Chapter in Armenian Past", accurately criticizes
President Obama for going back on his promise regarding recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The Obama administration has pursued an active policy of appeasement in foreign policy in general,
but specifically toward the continuing human rights violations in Turkey. President Obama has
disrespected the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey
through comments he has made and by his failure to meet the Patriarch in a public forum on his
visit to Turkey last year.
It has been very clear about this administration that the status of Christians in Turkey and elsewhere
have very little priority for Obama. Between the period of 1914 and 1923, in addition to the Armenians,
the Turks waged genocide against Greek Orthodox and Assyrian Christians as well. In 1955, the
Turkish government ordered a vicious pogrom against the Greek population of Constantinople, and in
1974 the Turkish military invaded the Republic of Cyprus, bringing about the ethnic cleansing of 200,000
Greek Cypriots.
Turkey to this day is a sponsor of terrorism. In 2007, Turkish Army officers were arrested for planning
the murders of Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. It is surely not
coincidence that Turkey has been targeting the spiritual leadership of two ancient communities that were
decimated in the Genocide of the early twentieth century. Most recently, Prime Minister Erdogan
threatened 100,000 Armenians living in Turkey. The Obama administration's succumbing to Turkish
pressure is despicable.
Theodoros Karakostas
HEC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Obama cites 'devastating chapter' in Armenia past

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Candidate Obama repeatedly promised he'd call the almost century-old massacre of Armenians in Turkey as genocide. President Obama twice now has refused to do so.

Obama on Saturday declined to call the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I a genocide as he had promised as a presidential hopeful, instead painting the massacre as "one of the worst atrocities" of the 20th century and "a devastating chapter" in history.

Obama's statement, issued as he and first lady Michelle Obama spent a weekend getaway here in western North Carolina, earned him criticism from all corners. The Turkish foreign minister said it was "unacceptable," and activists took issue with the president's tone in the statement that marked the 95th anniversary of the start of the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

It is "a devastating chapter in the history of the Armenian people, and we must keep its memory alive in honor of those who were murdered and so that we do not repeat the grave mistakes of the past," Obama said in his statement.

Yet for a second year as president, Obama intentionally eschewed calling it a genocide, as he promised during his campaign. Now well into his second year in office, he has not in public used the word many historians employ for the first mass killing of the 20th century.

Marking the grim anniversary of the start of the killings, the president instead said: "On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that 95 years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began."

The statement was less than the full and frank acknowledgment he promised Jan. 19, 2008, when he vowed that as president, "I will recognize the Armenian Genocide," and repeatedly used the word.

"I also share with Armenian Americans -- so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors -- a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history. As a U.S. senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide."

Activists and officials from across the spectrum were quick to express disappointment.

"Today we join with Armenians in the United States and around the world in voicing our sharp disappointment with the president's failure to properly condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide," Armenian National Committee of America chairman Ken Hachikian said. "Sadly, for the U.S. and worldwide efforts to end the cycle of genocide, he made the wrong choice, allowing Turkey to tighten its gag-rule on American genocide policy."

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Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
 
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