It has been nearly 100 years, but the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 is still cause for international tensions.

Background via Yahoo! News:

One day after paying a solemn visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Barack Obama on Tuesday called the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915 “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” but again broke a 2008 campaign promise to label the tragedy “genocide.”

“We honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were brutally massacred or marched to their deaths in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire,” Obama said in a written statement on Armenian Remembrance Day.

“A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests. Moving forward with the future cannot be done without reckoning with the facts of the past,” Obama said in a implicit appeal for vital American ally Turkey to move closer to recognizing the massacre.

Turkey is an important ally in a key region of the world. Some suspect this played a role in Obama’s decision:

You might think Turkey would be pleased that Obama broke his campaign promise again. But no. Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan doesn’t seem happy at all:

In his statement issued on 24 April 2013, US President Obama has unfortunately demonstrated this year once again a one-sided approach which reflects the Armenian views regarding the dispute between Turks and Armenians on the painful part of their common history.

We regard this statement, which distorts the historical facts, as problematic in every aspect and deeply regret it.

Issued under the influence of domestic political considerations and interpreting controversial historical events on the basis of one-sided information and with a selective sense of justice, such statements damage both Turkish-American relations, and also render it more difficult for Turks and Armenians to reach a just memory.

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