‘A full, frank and just acknowledgement of the fact is in all our interests,’ says State Department
The U.S. on Tuesday called for a complete and fair 'acknowledgement' of the facts surrounding the 1915 events.
“The president and other senior administration officials have repeatedly acknowledged as historical fact, and mourned the fact, that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.
“A full, frank and just acknowledgement of the fact is in all our interests, including Turkey's, Armenia's and America's,” she said. “Nations are stronger and they progress by acknowledging and reckoning with pretty painful elements of their past.”
The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with invading Russians and revolted against the empire.
The Ottoman Empire relocated Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts, resulting in Armenian casualties during the relocation process.
Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has refuted Armenian claims about the incidents saying that although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.
Ankara agrees that there were certainly Armenian casualties during World War I, but says that it is impossible to define these events as genocide.