While you might think that if a genocide occurred and was factually documented, it would be a globally accepted event and a reminder of the depth humanity could sink to, but the US states that didn’t recognize the Armenian Genocide until recently suggests that this is not true.
The Armenian Genocide occurred over a period of 9 years, from 1914-1923, where an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were brutally exterminated by the Ottoman Empire. This systematic killing was carried throughout World War I and continued after it ended as well. It was carried out in two stages; the first was the mass killing of able-bodied Armenians, while the second stage saw the deportation of women, children and the elderly who were forced into death marches which ended in the Syrian desert.
Considering the fact that this disastrous event occurred less than a century ago, in a time when records were properly kept, you would think that everyone would be aware of the details and recognize it as a genocide. However, while Turkey later admitted that untoward incidents took place during this period, they refused to acknowledge it as being a genocide and pressured other countries from doing so as well. This is why only 29 countries recognize it as a genocide including Armenia. You can learn more about these countries in our article on 28 Countries that Recognize the Armenian Genocide. Most of these countries are located in Europe and they are not strong allies of Turkey. On the other hand, you will barely find any Asian country in this list, as most of them are strong allies of Turkey and would try to avoid anything that can negatively affect their ties. In my opinion, recognizing the atrocities committed in the past is one of the best ways to ensure that it does not happen again. Hence, the importance of the genocide being recognized on a global scale cannot be stressed enough.
You may be further surprised to know that even the supposed defender of the world, protector of the oppressed, the United State of America is hesitant to acknowledge the genocide due to the fear that they will alienate Turkey. Even Obama, who encouraged the use of term genocide to describe the atrocity, refused to use the word after being elected so that Turkey would not be offended. While he has acknowledged the atrocities committed, not using the word ‘Genocide’ has been seen as a coward and political move by many. However, many states have taken matters into their own hands and have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, a move lauded by many. Now, 46 states recognize the genocide, even though some have only done so within the last decade. To figure out the states which have recently recognize the genocide as such, we visited the Armenian National Committee of America and we sorted the states by the year of recognition, while for the latest states we used recent news articles. Now, let’s see what we have on our list of US states that didn’t recognize the Armenian Genocide until recently.