For 7th year in a row, Obama breaks promise to acknowledge Armenian genocide

Story highlights

  • Obama promised Armenian-Americans he would call the atrocity genocide during the 2008 campaign.
  • The White House views Turkey as a more crucial ally than Armenia.
  • Pope Francis, actor George Clooney, and even the Kardashians have taken the moral position, calling it the Armenian genocide.

Washington (CNN)This week is the 100th anniversary of what many historians acknowledge as the Armenian genocide -- the Turkish massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians

And it's also the seventh year in a row President Barack Obama has broken his promise to use the word "genocide" to describe the atrocity.
It's a moral position taken by Pope Francis, actor George Clooney and even by the Kardashians.
    On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama promised to use the word "genocide" to describe the 1915 massacre by Turks of Armenians -- a pledge he made when seeking Armenian-American votes.
    Back then, he held up his willingness to call it a "genocide" as an example of why he was the kind of truth-telling candidate the nation needed.
    In 2006, after the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was asked to resign for using the term Armenian genocide, then-Sen. Obama hammered the Bush administration for not taking a stand.
    "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," he said.
    But that was then.
    And now, as was the case with Bush, Obama regards Turkey -- the only Muslim majority country in NATO -- as a more crucial ally than Armenia. Turkey has the second-largest military in NATO, behind only the U.S., and is a crucial ally when it comes to Syria, ISIS, Iran and other Middle East issues.
    And Turkey denies this history.
    "We cannot define what happened in 1915 as a genocide," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN on Tuesday.
    In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book about genocide, Obama's current Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power hammered U.S. policy makers for not acknowledging or acting to stop such atrocities.
    "No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on," she wrote.