Obama refrains describing Armenian massacre as 'genocide'

Updated: 2015-04-24 09:45


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Obama refrains describing Armenian massacre as 'genocide'

A participant holds a candle and a sign during a memorial march by armenians in front of the Brandenburg Gate after an Ecumenical service marking the 100th anniversary of the mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces, at the cathedral in Berlin April 23, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is pledging solidarity with Armenians but isn't calling what happened to them 100 years ago "genocide."

Obama says the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks is a solemn moment that calls for reflection on the importance of historical remembrance and the work of reckoning with the past.

Obama says he has consistently stated his view on what happened in 1915 and that his view has not changed.

As a US senator and candidate for president, Obama described the killings of Armenians as "genocide" and said the US government had a responsibility to recognize them as such.

But Obama shied away from that description as president, mainly out of deference to Turkey.

Turkey is a key US partner and NATO ally that fiercely opposes the "genocide" label.