Thursday, March 19, 2009
Presidential candidate Barack Obama shared with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) a strongly worded statement today calling for Congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and pledging that, as president, he will recognize the Armenian Genocide.From the Obama campaign site:
In his statement, the Presidential hopeful reaffirmed his support for a strong �U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy.� He also pledged to �promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America�s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.�
I will promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America's founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination. And my Administration will help foster Armenia's growth and development through expanded trade and targeted aid, and by strengthening the commercial, political, military, developmental, and cultural relationships between the U.S. and Armenian governments.
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 acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915.
...America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.
Seeking to avert tensions during President Barack Obama's visit to Turkey, both sides are playing down potential fallout from a renewed attempt by some U.S. lawmakers to declare the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.
Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign policy advisor to Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters on Thursday the issue, which caused U.S.-Turkish relations to plummet in 2007, would not "hijack" Obama's visit early next month.
"Nothing can shadow the success of this visit," Davutoglu told reporters after meeting Obama's national security advisor Jim Jones at the White House. ...
Asked whether Obama's views might have changed, Davutoglu was noncommittal.
"I did not say yes or no," he said. "Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of General Jones, but we went through all these issues in a very friendly and cooperative manner."
Recognizing how sensitive the issue could become in U.S.-Turkish relations, the State Department has avoided comment on the resolution or what the Obama administration's policy is on labeling what happened as genocide.
"I don't want to go any further on it until we have had a chance to take a closer look at it and discuss it within the government, and that's where I'm going to leave it," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters on Wednesday.
He wasn't that unclear a year ago. Via YouTube:
I did not vote for or against candidates last year over the recognition of the genocide; he didn't disappoint me. As Jim Geraghty (no enemy of Turkey himself) often says, all promises from President Obama come with an expiration date. Other candidates have promised the Armenian diaspora recognition when they get into office, only to be disappointed when they get into office. What amazes me is two things: Why the Armenian diaspora continues to let itself be used this way; and the ease with which the State Department -- run by a former senator who sponsored a genocide recognition resolution not so long ago -- can pretend this is the FIRST time they thought about the question.