Yesterday, the world remembered the 1.5 million Armenians who were murdered by the Islamist Ottoman Empire in and around 1915. In January 2008, President Obama explicitly promised that he would acknowledge, in a substantial way, this genocide. It seems strange that anyone would ever have to promise to address a historical fact but due to Turkey’s continued denial that the genocide happened, it has become somewhat of a controversial topic.
7 years have gone by since Obama made that statement and so far, he hasn’t said a word. The question now is why? Why is it so difficult for the President of the United States to come out and condemn this horrible event. The answer is directly related to the President’s extensive track record of being timid when it comes to condemning radical Islam.
Make no mistake, the Armenian Genocide was a religious cleansing where the Ottoman Empire, a Muslim regime, murdered Christians because of their faith. President Obama, who famously said recently that Christians should remember the Crusades from 1,000 years ago when they criticize Islam, seems to have forgotten this event that happened 100 years ago. The President has bent over backwards to make sure he does not give people the impression he is condemning Islam as a whole when he talks about radical Islam. This is also the same President who classified the Fort Hood shooting as workplace violence and the Kosher deli shooting after the Charlie Hebdo shooting as a “random act of violence”. It is clearly very difficult for the President to publicly acknowledge certain aspects of Muslim extremism. This Armenian Genocide oversight seems to fit into that thought process.
There are those who will say that the President can’t condemn the Armenian Genocide because we depend on Turkey as a political partner in the Middle East. The short answer to that question is no we don’t. Turkey has been a very shaky ally in recent years and its even been reported that they are secretly buying oil from ISIS. Things are also going terribly in the Middle East so if Turkey is that big of an ally, its not working very well. Even if the reports about Turkey being a poor ally are false, that argument is irrelevant. Criticizing allies happens all the time, President Obama has no problem criticizing Israeli actions he doesn’t agree with. He has no problem remembering Holocaust victims despite Germany being a strong ally. Turkey should be no different.
Also, these events happened 100 years ago, taking a moment to acknowledge the atrocity has very little to do with the current Turkish government. No one really suffers or looks bad by talking about the Armenian Genocide except for perhaps Turkey and they only look bad because they refuse to acknowledge it. Germany has no problem honoring those who lost their lives in the Holocaust but yet Turkey has chosen to ignore it. This is an injustice to the enormous loss of life and one can only hope that President Obama changes his mind between now and the end of his term and decides to show leadership and publicly condemn this horrible memory.