US Armenians Slam Obama Over Genocide

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 7:35 PM CDT
President Barack Obama and Turkish President Abdullah Gul shake hands following their during their joint news confernece at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, April 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – US Armenians criticized President Obama today for refusing to acknowledge the Armenian genocide while visiting Turkey, Politico reports. Obama “missed a valuable opportunity to honor" a campaign pledge, said one advocate, after Obama mentioned “the terrible events of 1915” but avoided saying whether he had pressed Turkey's president on the issue. "What I want to do is not focus on my views right now," Obama told reporters.

“I want to be as encouraging as possible" about negotiations between Turkey and Armenia, Obama said, "which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly very soon." Politically, Obama is in a tight spot, seeking to improve relations with Muslim Turkey, a possible ally in the war on terror. He praised Turkish President Abdullah Gul for trying "to resolve a whole host of longstanding issues, including this one.”