President Obama campaigned hard to get the Armenian-American vote by taking a hard line on the Armenian Genocide. He even had a track record of complaining about the previous administration’s lack of recognition when Condoleezza Rice recalled the the US Ambassador to Yerevan, John Evans, because he publically used the word “genocide”. You can’t even use the “G” word when speaking to Armenians, as this is too upsetting to the Turks.
During the campaign, Obama said, “As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey’s acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.” Now Obama has decided that realpolitik is much more inportant than principle. The first Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day since Obama took office was last Friday. After all his bluster, when the White House issued a statement about the day, the word “genocide” was clearly left out.
Everyone noticed this, except of course the Turks, who were angry that any statement had been made. The under secretary in Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned to U.S. Ambassador in Ankara to tell him that the Turkish government was uneasy about the statement because it didn’t mention the deaths of thousands of Turks during the rounding up of 1.5 million Armenians for extermination. Even in avoiding the “G” work, the Turks found some of Obama’s expressions “unacceptable”.
Who do they think they are? First of all, that the US Ambasssdor should be summoned by some second-rate bureaucrat is insulting enough. If the bloody Turks have a problem with the watered-down statement of the President of the United States, who has already flushed all of his principles to appease them, then why can’t the President or Prime Minister of Turkey can’t be bothered to pick up the phone and call them White House directly? At the very least the US Ambassdor should be asked to reply on behalf of the Administration directly to the President, Prime Minister, or Foreign Secretary. The Ambassador should have then had direct orders from the White House to explain into which bodily oriface the Turks can shove their revisionist denial of the slaughter of the Armenians.
Why do with let the Turks get away with this? What would happen if Germany decided to collectively deny the Holocaust? The US wouldn’t stand for that. Good grief, the US government is even trying its hardest to send an exonerated innocent man to Germany to stand trial for crimes he didn’t commit (that didn’t even occur on German soil) because the Germans have collectively forgiven themselves for anything they did during the Holocaust, just to show its committment to the cause.
This is even worse. This is like campaigning on the promise of a Holocaust memorial, then denying the Holocaust once in office. If Obama had not taken a stand on this issue, it might be more understandable that he has bowed to the same pressure as every previous adminstration, letting the Turks dictate American policy. But to completely back down from promises he made to the Armenian disapora is reprehensible.