Presidential Papers, April 2009

Author: Barack H. Obama  | Date: April 24, 2009

Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day
April 24, 2009

Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people.

History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible events of 1915 remind us of the dark prospect of man’s inhumanity to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts.

The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward. I strongly support efforts by the Turkish and Armenian people to work through this painful history in a way that is honest, open, and constructive. To that end, there has been courageous and important dialog among Armenians and Turks, and within Turkey itself. I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations. Under Swiss auspices, the two governments have agreed on a framework and roadmap for normalization. I commend this progress and urge them to fulfill its promise.

Together, Armenia and Turkey can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive, and prosperous. And together, the Armenian and Turkish people will be stronger as they acknowledge their common history and recognize their common humanity.

Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern. But the contributions that Armenians have made over the last 94 years stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism, and resilience of the Armenian people and as the ultimate rebuke to those who tried to destroy them. The United States of America is a far richer country because of the many Americans of Armenian descent who have contributed to our society, many of whom immigrated to this country in the aftermath of 1915. Today I stand with them and with Armenians everywhere with a sense of friendship, solidarity, and deep respect.

Categories: Statements by the President : Armenian Remembrance Day.

Subjects: Armenia : Armenian Remembrance Day; Armenia : Relations with Turkey; Turkey : Reconciliation efforts; Turkey : Relations with Armenia.

DCPD Number: DCPD200900289. WSPC File: dcpd-2009-00289.xml


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Chicago: Barack H. Obama, "Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day," Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents [Collected for April 2009] in Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents, April 1, 2009 Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2023,

MLA: Obama, Barack H. "Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day." Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents [Collected for April 2009], in Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents, April 1, 2009, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: Obama, BH, 'Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day' in Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents [Collected for April 2009]. cited in April 1, 2009, Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents, April 1, 2009. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2023, from