(CNSNews.com) – Today, in major cities in the United States and abroad – Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Paris – thousands of Armenians gathered to commemorate the genocide perpetrated against their ancestors by the Ottoman Turks in 1915-17, an atrocity that killed an estimated 1.5 million people, most of them Christians.
Although 30 countries – and most historians -- have officially recognized what happened as genocide, the United States government has not. (Forty-nine of the 50 states have recognized the Armenian genocide through proclamations or resolutions.)
President Trump, again this year, refused to use the word “genocide” in a Remembrance Day statement and instead called the crimes a “past tragedy” and a “mass atrocity.”
On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman government, led by the Young Turk movement, issued an order that the Armenian intellectuals and politicians of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) be rounded up and later killed.
Scholars mark that day as the beginning of what is known as the Armenian Genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were systematically murdered through death marches in the desert or direct executions.
Today marks the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The U.S. government has not officially recognized the genocide, according to the Armenian National Committee for America (ANCA), because presidential administrations have been “fearful of offending Turkey, [and] have effectively supported the Turkish government's revisionism by opposing passage of congressional Armenian Genocide resolutions.”
As for the current administration, the ANCA said, “President Trump has once again granted Turkish President Erdogan – an authoritarian and increasingly anti-American dictator – a veto over honest U.S. remembrance of Turkey’s WWI-era genocide of millions of Armenians and other Christians.”
“This is a cut-and-paste policy, set in Ankara by Turkish dictators and enforced in Washington by American presidents,” said the ANCA. “Having promised an America First presidency, he has pursued a Turkey First policy on the Armenian Genocide.”
“Having pledged to protest the persecution of Christians, he has enforced a foreign gag-rule against honest remembrance of a century-old crime,” said the ANCA. “We look now to the U.S. Congress to provide the leadership that the White House has failed to deliver.”
The Republic of Turkey, a Muslim regime, denies the genocide ever happened. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, not only denied the genocide on its anniversary (April 24) but his presidency tweeted that the relocation of the Armenians through death marches was “the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.”
The police in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, reportedly are not allowing people to protest Turkey’s denial of the genocide.
Because Los Angeles has a large Armenian population, the L.A. Unified School District is considering making April 24 a school holiday. Also, in New York City there is a commemoration in Times Square.
Although the Armenian Genocide was officially recognized in France in 2001, this year will mark be first time the French president has declared the April 24 to be a “national day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.” To deny the genocide as historical fact in France is a punishable offence in France.
Earlier today in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, there was a march by torch light, during which the flag of Turkey was burned. Later, at the National Armenian Genocide Memorial in Armenia, a 108-year old survivor of the genocide was present for the commemoration.
Although the United States does not recognize the genocide there are two bipartisan resolutions — H.R. 296 and S.Res.150— which, if passed and signed by the president, would nationally recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In the statement released today by the White House, Trump described the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians as “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.” He did not describe it as a “genocide” and also did not explicitly say the Turks were responsible for the killings.