“We should have recognised Armenian genocide” - Obama advisors

Two senior advisors to former president Barack Obama told a podcast audience that his administration should have recognised the Armenian genocide during its time in office, news website Politico reported.

Obama had promised to officially recognise the genocide when running for president in 2008, the site said, but had backed down every year when in office in order not to provoke Turkey, where feelings about late Ottoman history are still an emotional subject, including for those in power.

"It was a mistake. We should have recognized the Armenian genocide," Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former deputy national security advisor, said.

"Every year there was a reason not to," he added. "Turkey was vital to some issue that we were dealing with, or there was some dialogue between Turkey and the Armenian government about the past."

Samantha Power, Obama’s former ambassador to the United Nations, apologised to Armenian-Americans for not having recognised the event and said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had always found ways to make it appear as if Armenian-Turkish relations would be damaged by the action.

The Armenian genocide originated with a 1915 order to move the Armenian population en masse to Syria at a time when the Ottomans believed that Armenian militants might sabotage the Ottoman effort during World War One.

Effective death-marches through harsh terrain dotted with vicious bandits were often the result. The Armenian population of the majority of Anatolia, the Asian part of modern-day Turkey, was ethnically cleansed through methods of exile, death and forced conversions.