Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915
Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915Creative Commons

Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the horrific Armenian genocide in the then Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, the United States seems to have let down the Armenians yet again, with the White House refusing to call it a "genocide." 

In a carefully-worded statement issued on Tuesday, the White House avoided the term while calling for "a full, frank and just acknowledgement."

It used every other term to describe the mass murder - calling it the "1915 atrocities against Armenians," "a horrific period'", and "the most solemn of anniversaries."

Even US President Barack Obama will stay away from using the term on the centennial on Friday, reports have suggested.

Though Obama had promised to acknowledge the incident as a genocide during his 2008 election campaign, the President's chair may not allow him to do so, just as it did not allow former President George W Bush, who had made similar promises. 

The main priority behind the refusal to use the term in reference to the massacre of Christian Armenians by the Ottoman Turks is to ensure US' relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally, are not damaged

Turkey has refused to term the massacre as genocide, citing that many people had died during the war period. It has not taken kindly to other nations or individuals using the term either, as was evident from its reaction to Pope Francis' recent declaration that the Armenian massacre was the 'the first genocide of the 20th century"

Another factor that is holding the US President back is that with its fight against the Islamic State nowhere near conclusion, the US is looking at Turkey to play a major role to bring down the terror group fostering in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of foreign fighters, including Americans, enter Syria through Turkey to join the Isis. 

Given the constant state of crisis in the Middle East, Turkey is seen as an important ally for the US in the region to bring about stability. 

But the United States' stance has not gone down well with groups that have been urging the country to join the list of those who acknowledge the genocide.  

"President Obama's surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust," Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in a statement.

Even Germany, which was an ally of the Turks during the First World War, when the genocide was carried out, has decided to acknowledge it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said the government is set to back a resolution in parliament to declare the massacre a genocide on Friday. 

The Austrian Parliament also recently drafted a statement condemning the genocide. 

The other nations that have acknowledged the massacre as a genocide are - Uruguay, which was the first to recognise it in 1965,  Russia in 1995,  Canada in 1996, Lebanon in 1997, Belgium and France in 1998, Greece in 1999, Italy and Vatican in 2000, Switzerland in 2003, Argentina, Slovakia and the Netherlands in 2004, Venezuela, Poland and Lithuania in 2005, Chile in 2007, Sweden in 2010 and Bolivia in 2014. 

The European Parliament has also long acknowledged the Armenian genocide. 

24 April will mark 100 years since the massacre of Armenians began in 2015, in which 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed.