Many Armenians are blaming President Serzh Sargsyan’s decision to freeze the reconciliation process with Turkey for US President Barack Obama’s failure again this year to call Ottoman Turkey’s World War I-era slaughter of ethnic Armenians an act of genocide.
Obama’s statement on April 24, the 95th anniversary of the 1915 slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million ethnic Armenians, differed little from his comments in 2009. Treading gingerly, Obama declared that "[t]he Meds Yeghern [Great Catastrophe] 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."
For many Armenians, Obama’s comments fell short of expectations. An Obama pledge to recognize the massacre as genocide, made back when he was a presidential candidate, is still widely remembered by Armenians. Ruben Safrastian, a prominent expert in Turkish studies and the director of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, was one of those who had hoped for much more from Obama’s statement.
To read the full story
Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan.