44° Good Morning
44° Good Morning

Letter: Recognize genocide in Armenia

President Barack Obama on March 10, 2015.

President Barack Obama on March 10, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Jim Watson

It is terribly disappointing that President Barack Obama has avoided calling the Armenia massacre of 1915 genocide.

I consider myself an Obama supporter. I voted for him twice. While he has made some mistakes, overall he has done good things for a lot of people.

I also don't know what behind-the-scenes pressure or politicking may have taken place. But I do know that sometimes, politics and pressure should take a backseat.

Mr. President, this is one of those times. For 100 years, Turkey has denied the Armenian genocide in which many of my wife's family died. Historians agree that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks, an event labeled as genocide by almost every historian and researcher outside Turkey. What is almost as bad, the United States, the so-called moral conscience of the world, refuses to call this genocide.

Mr. President, it can't be because you think it wasn't a genocide. It has been documented, not just by the Armenians who survived but also by the Turkish government itself which, in the immediate aftermath, convicted the ring leaders of war crimes.

It can't be because you feel that it isn't important, or that you don't understand the global impact of your acknowledgment.

I don't understand it. What is there to lose?

Turkey is already angry at half of Europe, Argentina, and Pope Francis (and his billion Catholics). So they get angry at us, too? So what? They close our bases? So what? Let's open a couple of bases in Armenia! If you acknowledged the genocide as president, you would have the Armenians welcoming you with open arms.

You would be the voice against oppression. You would establish the legacy you so desperately want by saying, "Enough! It is time to call it what it was. Lies must end here. Erroneous education must end here. We must build for the future, and ask for and receive forgiveness for the genocide."

Turkey will see that the world is turning against it.

Mr. President, you can either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. What's it going to be?

Donald Purdy, Syosset