2015 marks the 100th anniversary of what a number of international organizations, countries, and even some U.S. states formally recognize as the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the Ottoman government’s planned extermination of minority Armenians inside present-day Turkey. Historians estimate that the Armenian Genocide resulted in 800,000 to 1.5 million deaths, as well as thousands of cases of rape, robbery, deprivation, and forced deportation. However, despite what many call a preponderance of evidence, the U.S. government has consciously avoided using the term genocide so as to not harm its strategic — and sometimes delicate — relationship with NATO ally Turkey.
At times, this has meant that some top State Department officials have had to walk a fine line between publicly supporting their country’s policy and adhering to their own moral code, none more so than Ambassador to Armenia John Evans. Evans did considerable research on the events in 1915 before and during his ambassadorial appointment in 2004 and came to the conclusion that they could be described as “genocide.” Read more