YEREVAN, June . /ARKA/. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany referenced the Armenian genocide during Monday’s press briefing, in a move that goes against the US government’s official stance and could place President Donald Trump in an awkward position with the Turkish government, Business Insider reported.
It said McEnany referenced an “Armenian genocide memorial” as she cited monuments and memorials that have recently been vandalized amid nationwide protests over racism and police brutality. A sculpture honoring victims of the Armenian genocide was vandalized in Denver in May.
“There seems to be a lack of understanding and historical knowledge when the Armenian Genocide Memorial, remembering victims of all crimes against humanity, including slavery, is vandalized,” McEnany said.
“We appreciate that the Administration has taken note that the Armenian Genocide memorial in Denver was vandalized and of the need for a better understanding of historical knowledge,” Bryan Ardouny, the executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said in a statement provided to Insider.
“This monument, dedicated on the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, commemorates the victims of all crimes against humanity.”
The Armenian National Committee of America said that McEnany’s comments on Monday could mark the first steps toward “all-of-government recognition of the Armenian Genocide” in the US.
Armenia has long said 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a genocide by the Ottoman Empire (out of which modern-day Turkey emerged) in 1915 during World War I. Despite eyewitness accounts from survivors and reports of mass graves from diplomats who watched and documented the mass slaughter firsthand, Turkey denies the massacre was a “genocide,” dismissing it instead as a messy aspect of the war.
Scholars widely agree that what the Ottomans did to the Armenians in 1915 constitutes genocide. In late 2019 December the US Senate voted unanimously to recognize the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman empire. The Senate resolution formally acknowledges the mass killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1922 as an act of genocide. It came after a similar measure adopted in October by the House of Representatives.
The Armenian Genocide is recognized by many states and a number of authoritative international organizations. The first country to recognize the Genocide in 1965 was Uruguay, followed by Cyprus, Russia, Greece, Canada, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Lebanon, Belgium, France, Paraguay, Argentina, Sweden, Bolivia, Great Britain, Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Lithuania , Venezuela, Poland, Chile, Switzerland, Brazil, Luxembourg, Austria, Vatican, Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, as well as the interim government of Libya, both houses of the US Congress, Syria, European Parliament and World Council of Churches .