Somber events commemorating the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide were held this week, complete with reflections on the 1.5 million people who were slaughtered at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. We are greatly disappointed that it appears we’ll all mark the centennial of the atrocities next year without the United States formally declaring the genocide and pressuring the Turkish government to do the same, given the glacial pace of action in that regard.
Last year, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who has waged a long, lonely battle in Washington to set this situation right, introduced Resolution 227, which awaits approval by the House Foreign Relations Committee. This month, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on a 12-5 vote Resolution 410, written by committee chair Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). The full Senate has not yet put it on the agenda; we hope Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) takes it up before this session ends. As we reported in recent days, Schiff hopes the Senate committee’s vote will help jump-start his legislation. “It does put pressure on the House when the Senate acts… only time will tell,” he told the News-Press.
Although the Turkish narrative of those horrendous years has appeared to soften at least to a small degree recently, with that country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offering his condolences to descendants of the massacres, not enough has been said or done to properly admit and atone for the genocide. And it looks like the U.S. president is still loath to say the G-word out loud.
We understand he has diplomatic concerns — the U.S. needs Turkey as a steady ally in that turbulent part of the world — but, despite all the evidence that’s been presented over the years, it’s fundamentally ridiculous that our country has not yet recognized what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks in 1915. We can’t ignore atrocities of our allies any less so than we could ignore those of our enemies.