Sen. Cruz Calls for Recognition of Armenian Genocide

By Lauretta Brown | April 20, 2015 | 12:54pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called for recognition of the Armenian genocide in an address to the Armenian Church of Austin on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Saturday. Cruz’s statement marks the approaching April 24th centennial of the slaughter of an estimated 1.2 million Armenians from 1915-1918 by the Ottoman Turks.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

“100 years ago, the world was too silent as the Armenian people suffered a horrific genocide,” said Cruz.  “Today, we commemorate more than a million souls who were extinguished by the Ottoman Government.”

“Let the terrors of those events awaken in us the courage to always stand for freedom against evil forces,” said the senator. “As Pope Francis rightly said, ‘Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.’"

Cruz was referencing Pope Francis’s recent remarks in which he called the massacre “the first genocide of the 20th century.” The Pope’s remarks drew the ire of Turkey, which in response recalled its ambassador from the Vatican.

“The massacre of the Armenian, Assyrian, and other Christian people should be called what it is: genocide,” Cruz said.

Victims in the Armenian genocide.

“Sadly, many today are still unaware of this 20th century atrocity,” he said.  “We cannot neglect the brutality carried out on these innocent souls because we cannot leave any room for them to occur again. If we forget the annals of history, we will not honor those who suffered in the death camps of the Holocaust, Soviet Union, Cambodia, and many others. That is a tragedy we can and should prevent.”

"In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future," Cruz quoted Russian novelist and former Soviet prisoner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who died in 2008.

“I commend your efforts to illuminate the past, and to prevent such injustice from occurring again, whether in your homeland or in any country around the globe. Thank you for your commitment to speaking the truth in love,” he concluded. “May God bless the Armenian people, and me he continue to bless America.”

The Armenian Genocide has long been a contentious issue for Turkey and Armenia but most scholars agree that what occurred 100 years ago was genocide. Turkey refuses to admit the “genocide” even though Argentina, Germany, Russia and many other countries have acknowledged it, with the notable exclusion of the United States.

A victim of the Armenian genocide.

"Senator Cruz got it right," said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As Americans, we cannot be silent. We must speak the truth. His remarks highlight the Armenian Genocide gag-rule that Ankara continues to enforce on the U.S. government, and spotlight the stark choice facing President Obama this April 24th: to reject or enforce Turkey's veto on our nation's Armenian Genocide policy."

“As a U.S. Senator, I have stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide,” President Obama said on his campaign website in 2008. “[T]he Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

However, Obama did not do what he said. He has not used the word genocide while in office and when asked at an April 2009 press conference with then-Turkish President Abdullah Gul about recognizing the genocide by name, Obama replied, “[W]hat I want to do is not focus on my views right now but focus on the views of the Turkish and the Armenian people. If they can move forward and deal with a difficult and tragic history, then I think the entire world should encourage them.”

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Republican President George W. Bush also reneged on his pledge to recognize the Armenian genocide. When running as a presidential candidate in 2000, Bush wrote to two prominent Armenian-American leaders, stating, “The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.”

However, once elected president, George W. Bush reversed his position and as the Armenian National Committee of America stated on Apr. 24, 2001, “President George W. Bush today broke his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In a statement issued today, on April 24th, the annual day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide, the President resorted to the use of evasive and euphemistic terminology to obscure the reality of Turkey's Genocide against the Armenian people.”

Further, in 2007,  President Bush publicly urged Congress to not adopt a resolution recognizing the genocidal killing of the estimated 1.2 million Armenians by the Turks, claiming the resolution “would do great harm to relations with a key ally in NATO, and to the war on terror."

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