Report

Turkey Uneasy as Armenians Commemorate Genocide Centenary

Armenians are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the genocide that killed 1.5 million Armenians during civil conflict within the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Ankara’s sensitivity to the use of the word “genocide” has prompted diplomatic tensions over the past week in the lead-up to today’s events: The Turkish government recently recalled ambassadors to ...

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Armenians are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the genocide that killed 1.5 million Armenians during civil conflict within the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Ankara’s sensitivity to the use of the word “genocide” has prompted diplomatic tensions over the past week in the lead-up to today’s events: The Turkish government recently recalled ambassadors to Vatican City and Austria for their use of the word, and sent diplomats to Washington to lobby against including the word in President Obama’s remarks. President Obama said in his comments that the deaths in 1915 were “terrible carnage,” but avoided the controversial term. More than 20 nations have used the term, most recently Germany. German President Joachim Gauck said yesterday in Berlin that Germany shares responsibility for the deaths as the Ottoman Empire’s ally in World War I.

At a memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, today, foreign leaders called on Ankara to acknowledge the genocide. “Important words have already been said in Turkey, but others are still expected, so that shared grief can become shared destiny,” French President Francois Hollande said. Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke today in Yerevan, saying “There is no and cannot be justification for mass murder of people.” Ankara’s aversion about acknowledging the events of 1915 may stem from not only nationalism, but concerns about reparations, writes the New York Times.

Europe to Increase Rescue Operations in Mediterranean

European leaders decided to triple the budget for rescue operations and increase the number of ships patrolling the Mediterranean to stem the number of deaths of migrants trying to leave North Africa by boat. They also decided to pursue plans to use military means to disrupt smuggling networks, saying in a joint statement that they “commit to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers.” Human rights groups expressed cautious optimism about the results of the talks. “The commitment to triple the budget and national offers of significant new search and rescue capacity are critical breakthroughs…Europe took a small step back from the moral abyss today,” a statement from Save the Children said.

Headlines

  • For the first time this year, militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets into Israel; Israel responded by shelling a Hamas base. No injuries were reported in either incident.

 

  • An Iranian flotilla of cargo vessels escorted by warships turned back from its destination of Aden after nearing a U.S. aircraft carrier and being threatened with search by Saudi forces.

 

  • The United Nations has invited the parties to Syria’s civil war, including foreign nations but excluding terrorist groups, to Geneva for “low-key” talks next month.

 

  • Speaking at an event celebrating Israel’s 67th Independence Day, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden struck a conciliatory tone emphasizing U.S.-Israeli partnership; he also said that the United States would deliver F-35 fighter jets to Israel next year.

 

  • A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan that killed unintended targets may prompt a review of U.S. policies in the Middle East and Horn of Africa; a recent report suggested that the United States was not adhering to its standards for strikes in Yemen.

-J. Dana Stuster

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

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