Trump calls 1915 events by Armenian name "Meds Yeghern"
U.S. President Donald Trump has released a statement on Apr. 24, Armenian Remembrance Day, in which he referred to the "horrific events of 1915," leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, using the Armenian phrase "Meds Yeghern."
Meds Yeghern, meaning "the great crime," is the term used by Armenians to refer to the mass displacement and killing of Ottoman Armenians, who were considered a threat by the leadership of the crumbling empire. The term first time used by during the previous president Obama's time.
These events have been widely accepted by scholars, and acknowledged by 29 countries, as a genocide - a claim hotly disputed by Turkey, which accepts that the killings took place but denies that their circumstances constituted genocide.
American presidents have for years issued statements on the April 24th to commemorate the day. So far, only President Ronald Reagan in 1981 has used the term genocide during a public event - the opening of the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC.
According to Ahval's Washington sources, in 2015, the 100th anniversary of the 1915 World War I massacres, president Obama came close to naming the events as genocide, however, neither he nor Trump has taken the step, in spite of Turkey's deteriorating relations with the United States.
"Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern, one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century, when one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. We recall the horrific events of 1915 and grieve for the lives lost and the many who suffered," said Trump's statement.
The president also commemorated Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, who he said had "sought to end the violence and later raised funds through the Near East Relief to help the Armenian people."
Trump also complimented the Armenian diaspora, "so many of whom built new lives in the United States and have made countless contributions to our country," he said.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes also issued a statement today on the tragic events of 1915, which led to the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Armenians under the rule of the failing Ottoman Empire.
Nunes set out by declaring that his statement would commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
"It’s been more than a century since the Ottoman Empire began the Armenian Genocide," said the statement.
The powerful committee chair, who is widely known as a close ally of President Trump, went on to say in his statement, "[a]t a time when Turkey is falling into anti-democratic darkness, including the brutal beating of President Erdogan’s critics on U.S. soil by Erdogan’s security detail, Erdogan’s continuing denial of the Armenian Genocide is an absurdity and a disgrace."
Several of Erdoğan’s bodyguards faced charges in the United States after being caught on film beating up protesters during the Turkish president's May 2017 visit to Washington DC. The charges were dropped in March this year.
Nunes' statement, without elaborating the specifics, ended by saying "in light of current developments in Turkey, it’s now more important than ever that the U.S. administration commemorates the tragic genocide of the Armenian people.”
President Trump did not call the events a genocide last year neither.