State Department: No change in U.S. policy
By Gunay Hasanova
No matter how hard the Armenian lobby tries to make the world recognize the so-called "Armenian genocide," the governments of world powers understand the absurdity of this term.
During an event in New York dedicated to the memory of Nobel Prize winner, Professor Elie Wiesel, the U.S. Ambassador to UN Samantha Power mentioned the ongoing historical injustice, and recalled the "denial of the “genocide” of Armenians."
Soon after that, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner clarified the matter.
“I don’t want to go into terminology or elaborate how we call these events. We recognized that 1.5 million Armenians were killed”, Toner said at a briefing on December 6.
State Department spokesman also noted that Power mentioned the word "genocide" only in the context of her speech to commemorate Elie Wiesel who opposed the Holocaust.
"Of course, her comments do not reflect any shift in the policy of the Administration," Toner added.
The Armenian lobby has long taken efforts to achieve world recognition of so-called "genocide", which remains the main stumbling block in Turkey-Armenia relations.
The move considerably deteriorated the relations between Armenia and Turkey, which ended with Ankara closing its borders with Armenia due to Yerevan's claims over Armenia's illegal "genocide" claims and occupation of Azerbaijani lands.
Armenia claims that up to 1.5 million people were killed by Ottoman forces during World War I, in what it calls an act of 'genocide'. But modern Turkey has always rejected the term genocide, putting the toll at 500,000 and blaming the deaths on starvation and unrest in the broader context of the war.
Armenians, strengthening propaganda of the so-called "genocide" in the world countries, achieved its recognition by parliaments of some countries.
Turkey has always been keen to normalize its relations with Armenia. In line with its vision towards Southern Caucasus, Turkey, recognized Armenia's independence on December 16, 1991, and has produced a consistent policy of efforts to develop good-neighborly relations with this country. Due to the difficult economic conditions it encountered after its independence, Turkey has extended humanitarian aid to Armenia.
As regards Armenia's claims, Turkey proposed to Armenia the establishment of a Joint History Commission in 2015, which will be composed of historians and experts from both sides and third parties in order to study the events of 1915 in their historical context and share the findings with the international public. The fact that this proposal is yet to receive a positive answer from the Armenian authorities when considered together with their rejection to open all the relevant archives to the historians, gives a clear idea about their confidence in what they claim.
However, these good-will gestures are not reciprocated by Armenia. Armenia passed a bill on 4 October 2006, which makes it impossible for any Armenian citizen, or third party in Armenia, to voice dissent about the “genocide”, rejected the inclusion of a Turkish officer to the NATO/PfP team that would conduct a working visit on border security in Armenia in July 2007.
Gunay Hasanova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @gunhasanova
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