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Today marks the 97th Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day when Armenians commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Armenians in Turkey witnessed an alleged 1.5 million of their loved ones murdered, kidnapped, tortured, and raped at the hands of the Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1924

As Americans, many of our fellow countrymen lived through these horrors. We should commemorate this tragedy by reflecting on how recognition of human rights abuses becomes ever more important to end atrocities.

Americans need to commemorate the Armenian Genocide to pressure Turkey to end religious oppression. Pressure would give Armenian Christians in Turkey now the rights that have been taken from them since the Armenian Genocide.

American pressure would push Turkey towards recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Turkey wants an American alliance. Turkey is backed by an American military. The U.S. also has the power to encourage the EU to accept Turkey as a member. Recognizing the Armenian Genocide would help Turkey to end current religious persecution of Armenian Christians.

As it stands now, Washington does not officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government has not ended its oppressive policy against Armenian Christians since Meds Yeghern. Turkey created the “insulting Turkishness” law to prohibit concrete evidence from preventing a policy of discrimination. This law prevents Turkish Armenian’s ability to show the evidence needed to convince the international community to apply pressure.

Had the Armenian Genocide been recognized, it would become clear that Turkey is committing religious oppression against Armenian Christians. With this knowledge, the international community could pressure Turkey to create religious freedom laws, especially if the U.S. were to help. 

Turkey wants American approval. That is why Americans need to use Genocide Remembrance Day to persuade the government to stop worrying about losses they might incur by angering Turkey and officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. Otherwise, Armenians Christians will continue to be oppressed in Turkey.