Armenian survivor, 101, blasts US 'genocide shame'

AFP

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People lay flowers at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 21,2015 People lay flowers at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 21,2015
A 101-year-old survivor of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians a century ago has blasted the US refusal to label the killings as genocide, calling the decision a "shame" for America.
Yevnige Salibian, who lives in a care home in California, said she thought President Barack Obama's decision not to use the word was due to Washington's political and diplomatic interests in Turkey.
"Why? For political reasons! They have bases in Turkey, army bases. For their political gain, they don't want to recognize it. And it's shame, shame for America," she said.
During his 2008 campaign for the White House, then senator Obama had pledged to "recognize the Armenian genocide."
But the White House this week avoided referring to the mass World War I killings of Armenians as genocide, as a diplomatic row raged ahead of the tragedy's 100th anniversary on Friday.
Salibian made her comments as she recalled being a young girl when Turkish police knocked on her family's door, telling her family to leave.
"I was crying 'I want my dolls, I want my dolls.' I was seven years old when we went. And we were traveling in a cart with two horses," she told AFP.
"It was during the evening time I think, the horses got mad, they jumped up and down, up and down, and the driver could not go ahead, and our cart fell," she added.
Last month, US lawmakers introduced a resolution urging Obama to recognize mass killings of Armenians as genocide.
Armenia says an estimated 1.5 million people were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915, and has labeled the massacre a genocide.
Modern Turkey has always rejected the term, putting the toll at 500,000 and blaming their deaths on war and starvation.

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