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Obama avoids using term ‘genocide’ in marking anniversary of Armenian massacres

Armenians take part in a march north of the Lebanese capital Beirut, to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the Ottoman Turkish genocide against the Armenian people on April 24, 2013. AFP Photo/STR/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is again avoiding the term “genocide” in marking the anniversary of the massacres of Armenians nearly a century ago.

Obama called the killings one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. He used the same carefully parsed phrasing as in previous years.

As a candidate for president, Obama vowed to recognize the killings as genocide when in office. But since his election, Obama has declined to use the word amid furious resistance from Turkey, a key NATO ally.

Most historians see the killings as the first genocide of the 20th century. They estimate that about 1.5 million Armenians died. However, Turkish leaders reject the term. They say that figures are inflated and that there were deaths on both sides as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

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