Armenian Remembrance Day — the day set aside to remember the victims of an ethnic cleansing that happened nearly a century ago — is this Saturday. On Capitol Hill, an annual battle over the term “genocide” is heating up.
Both of California’s U.S. senators sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer rejected the argument that the United States’ relations with Turkey would suffer.
She said other countries use the term genocide to describe the deaths of a million and a half Armenian people in 1915. She cited Canada, France, Greece and Italy.
"I mean, these are countries that have very close relationships with Turkey," she said. "They're right in their region. So it's hard for me to see why Turkey would say, 'well now we're gonna break off the relationship because the United States of America joined so many other nations of the world in telling the truth'."
Last month, after the House Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Turkey recalled its ambassador in protest. Turkey says the deaths of Armenians were the result of fighting and forced relocation, not an organized genocide.