Obama: “My views are on the record”

601be240-0b79-488a-a9e8-7dd4b009e846_mw800_mh600U.S. President Barack Obama, on his first day of visit to Turkey, said his views on mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915, which he has termed genocide, have not changed.

“My views are on the record and I have not changed those
views,” he told a joint news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, according to Reuters.

However, Obama said he prefers not to focus on his views, in an attempt to be more encouraging around the Armenia-Turkey border opening talks.

“I want to be as encouraging as possible around those negotiations which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly, very soon, so as a consequence what I want to do is not focus on my views right now.” Obama said, seeking to strike a balance over the issue while adding pressure on the talks.

Gul, who has spearheaded talks between Ankara and Yerevan,
also said he expected them to bear fruit soon.[Reuters]

In a very interesting analysis by Robert Fisk on The Independent, we are reminded of what exactly Obama’s views are on the Armenian Genocide issue:

“The 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. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.”

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19 thoughts on “Obama: “My views are on the record”

  1. Everything you need to know about “Frieda” you can see in the email address for this group of right-wingers: johngalt.aynrand (at) hotmail . com

  2. Ani,
    you show your ignorance with your comment.

    First of all That link is not my blog, it’s belongs to the a group, and that email is the group email and not mine.

    • //it’s belongs to the a group//

      Well, that clears up everything! :))))

  3. Ani W.

    You still did not deny the facts that I put on my comment. It’s funny that you attack an email address (that does not even belong to me) to attack me.

    Have a good life..

  4. Obama did what most of expected. He used diplomatic words to indicate that he has not backtracked on his beliefs, but that he will avoid using the word “genocide” in any official capacity as long as moves towards Armenian-Turkish rapproachment are still there.

    In particular, in addition to his mention of Turkey’s importance as a bridge between East and West, he also pointed out the need for the border to be opened and for Turkey to play a part in resolving the Nagorno Karabakh which “has gone on for far too long.”

    Of course, even if Turkey does not open the border because of protests from Azerbaijan, it remains uncertain whether Obama will do anything to risk losing a key ally in the region, but we can but hope that his hopes for normalized relations and an end to the Karabakh conflict come true.

    • Actually, I think he went as close as he possibly could without saying the word “genocide” in his Parliament speech, using the analogy “And our country still struggles with the legacy of our past treatment of Native Americans.”

      Worth quoting the next paragraph as well:

      “Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future. I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. While there has been a good deal of commentary about my views, this is really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.”

      ————–
      Like you said, Onnik, “as long as moves…are still there.” It does set the clock ticking, perhaps?

      • Ani, I think he made it quite clear what he meant and that he would hold off doing anything to disrupt the chances of normalized relations between Armenia and Turkey as long as they show sign of being fulfilled.

        Ultimately, it has to be Armenia and Turkey which resolves this issue (and not least because there is the issue of education in Turkey as well as in Armenia) and Obama was pretty much sending them a polite and friendly message to do so.

        However, it’s true, normalized relations would have to happen this year even if the border isn’t opened immediately. One suspects, however, that a declared intent through the form of this much speculated protocol will be necessary before 24 April.

        Whether Azerbaijan likes the idea of an open border, there has to be clear intent expressed within the next few weeks with no room left for doubt. Obama, perhaps, is a president who can deliver that, but I admit it’s possible Turkey might call his bluff.

        They are strategically vital to the U.S., but even what Obama said on his visit should be enough for them to be unsure whether he is or not.

  5. Actually, Obama’s words were the only ones he could use given the larger issues at stake and especially the obvious logic in Armenia and Turkey resolving the past and not the U.S. which would instead support such efforts. I think any other words in such a context would have been pretty irresponsible. However, Turkey now has the ball in its court and we shall see whether the long anticipated opening of the border happens or not. Here’s hoping…

  6. On another interesting development, Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandian has criticized remarks by Turkish official (namely Erdoghan on Friday saying normalization of relations can not happen before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan), saying such remarks could jeopardize talks. http://www.azatutyun.am/armeniareport/report/en/2009/04/AB6AD511-BA79-45BF-953D-A8D74D352FB3.ASP

    Moreover, although we had been informed, that Nalbandian is due to fly to Turkey this night, he seems to have delayed his trip till like 2 P.M. or later, which has given Huriet Daily News reason to make a statement like this: “Nalbandian’s delay in traveling to Istanbul was also taken as discontent over Erdogan’s statements.”

  7. Erdogan always seems to say a lot with Gul having to play “good cop” to his “bad cop.” However, I agree, the Azerbaijan dimension is unclear.

    It depends on how much Turkey want to become the main geopolitical power in the South Caucasus region with the full backing of the United States, I guess.

    It also depends on whether they think Obama will do anything to jeopardize U.S. foreign policy.

    On the other hand, despite Erdogan’s remarks, Obama made it clear that a Karabakh solution could be mediated with Turkey’s assistance AFTER the border was opened and relations normalized with Armenia.

    Not the other way around.

    One suspects that might have had something to do with Nalbandian’s decision to arrive in Turkey after canceling his flight yesterday.

    Anyway, my impression is that Obama is dead set on the Armenian-Turkish dispute and Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict being resolved once and for all.

    Of course, hardliners in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Diaspora will not like such an approach. If it works, however, it could resolve many issues holding back all three countries.

  8. I dont see anything different what Bush did and Obama is doing right now. And Armenian should not endorse any politician based on their empty promises. ANC specifically endorsed Obama based on his full promise, McCain said he would not. So who is the honorable now?

    Ani W,
    Its funny to see how hard you’re trying to give Obama a credit for something….there is nothing there. Don’t try to make up stuff!!!

    • Right, and how close were Armenia and Turkey opening the border, resolving the past, and establishing diplomatic relations (which would aid resolution of the Karabakh conflict)?

      Um, rhetorical question because the answer is, of course, nowhere. As Tanar Akcam said, Obama’s speech will put pressure on Turkey to follow through. If it doesn’t, then that’s another matter…

      I just find it ironic that the loudest voices against this move come from Diaspora activists and Azerbaijan who seem to both want Armenia to remain suffocated and isolated.

      Instead, why not see if April brings a breakthrough. If it doesn’t and Obama continues to support Turkey as a strategic U.S. ally (which of course he most likely will), then I can see reason for outrage.

      Anyway, this month, we’ll see what will be. All I can do is hope that Armenia and Turkey — and not the U.S. Congress — resolve this issue for the future of both countries.

      In that sense, if it happens, Obama has made it quite clear he will be keeping an eye on things. His speech to me seems to confirm the most important thing of all.

      Turkey itself must own up to its past. I find it amazing that the Diaspora lobby groups seem so opposed to what was the whole point in the first place.

      • Onnik,
        I am not against the normalization at all, actually I was for it when Levon was the president, but needs to come clean with their past. Turkey wants EU membership more than anything else, and we should use our leverage the best we can.

        But lets not kids ourselves, the negotiations between Turkey and Armenian was also pushed by Bush’s administration. Lets not act as if this is happening just because Obama got elected.

        My point with the most Armenian Americans political groups are when they endorse a candidate based on “words” and “empty promises”. They rallied Armenians in America to vote for a guy that had no record of supporting Armenian cause. My point is that we elected a guy that is more interested in being “LOVED” by the the world and he tries to have both ways.

        Well, Genocide is not something that he can dance around the words anymore!!

    • Ara,

      He was and still is a community organizer… (wink)

      “Leader” is a tall order for that pathetic, socialist-secularist-pro-abortion-pro-homosexual, pro-racist, pro-Islamic, anti-white, anti-free-speech, anti-gun, anti-liberty, anti-prosperity LIAR that he is.

  9. […]While there has been a good deal of
    commentary about my views, this is really about how the Turkish and
    Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the
    Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a
    way that is honest, open and constructive.[…]

    Sranic den@ el inch eq uzum? Mard@ baceibac asum a ayn inch vor petq e asvi. Ho hyur gnacatz chpetq a kriv ani. Sa, verjiverjo, divanagitutyun e yev voch te besedki zric.

  10. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Armenia-Turkey: Mixed reaction to Obama Speech

  11. Pingback: Armenian blogosphere on Obama’s Turkey visit « The Armenian Observer Blog

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