|Today, In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, calls on President Trump to recognize the 1915 systematic killing, expulsion and rape of Christians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Today marks the 103rd anniversary of the start of the genocide that targeted Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, and Greeks for destruction in the Ottoman Empire.
In a statement earlier today, IDC’s President Toufic Baaklini remarked that “President Trump’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide would be historic and bring justice to the descendants of those genocide survivors, many of whom found a safe haven in the United States.”
The Ottoman Empire massacred over 2 million of these indigenous Christians and exiled many others from their ancestral homelands. Turkey, the Ottoman Empire’s successor state, continues to deny that these acts constitute genocide and refuses to accept responsibility for this crime or attempt to reconcile it through reparations to descendants of genocide survivors. Christians, who used to number in the millions, now account for less than 0.1% of Turkey’s population.
In the 21st century, the Turkish government’s policies continue to negatively impact Christians in the Middle East by their enabling of the Islamic State’s reign of terror, support of extremist forces in Syria, threats of attack against Yazidis in the Sinjar province of Iraq, stealing of church property from the historic Syriac community in southeastern Turkey and interference in the selection process of the Armenian and Greek patriarchates.
Forty-eight U.S. states have affirmed the Armenian Genocide through resolutions or proclamations and over 20 nations and international bodies have affirmed the Armenian Genocide, including the European Union and NATO allies Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Slovakia. IDC calls on the Trump Administration to recognize what happened in 1915 as genocide in order to start reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia and bring justice to those whose families scattered across the world seeking refuge from this murderous campaign.