ANKARA—In an interview on Turkish television on Feb 6, the United States’ Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, commented on Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish government’s decision to host commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 24, the same day that Armenians will be commemorating the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Speaking about the United States’ position on the Armenian Genocide, Bass said, “I cannot speak to how the events will be characterized in whatever the President or Congress chooses to say on the anniversary, but, I can tell you that our policy hasn’t changed. Our policy is that we believe that a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts surrounding those terrible massacres and tragedies in 1915 is in the interest of the citizens of Turkey, it is in the interest of the citizens of Armenia and it is in the interest of the descendants of people who suffered in that period.”
On U.S. participation in commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli, Bass said, “It is too early to say how we will be represented in Gallipoli. I would say, with respect to the timing of the commemorations, you know there is so much depth of feeling and so much suffering that occurred in 1915 among many populations that, I think, from our perspective, we think that commemorations should occur in a way that allows every community that suffered to commemorate the events in a way and in a manner that is respectful of the dead and that allows them in their own ways to acknowledge that suffering and to commemorate their dead respectfully.”