- Jul 2011
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the slaughter of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century as genocide, provoking outrage in Ankara.
The House passed the non-binding resolution on October 29 by a vote of 405 to 11. The vote comes amid tense U.S. relations with Turkey, the heir of the Ottoman Empire, over its actions in Syria.
Ottoman Turks killed and deported as many as 1.5 million Armenians, a Christian minority in the predominately Muslim empire, during and immediately after World War I. Many historians and some other nations consider the killings genocide.
Turkey, a NATO member, has objected to such a designation, claiming the deaths were a result of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate Armenians. Turkey also claims fewer Armenians died than has been reported.
Aram S. Hamparian, executive director of the Washington-based Armenian National Committee of America, called the overwhelming adoption an “absolute rejection” of Istanbul’s claims.
“Turkey knows that unless the U.S. is complicit in their denial, it is not sustainable,” he told RFE/RL.
The resolution was introduced by Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, which has a large Armenian population. The Senate has yet to pass the resolution. Only one U.S. state – Mississippi – has yet to pass the resolution.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quick to criticize the resolution, calling it "revenge" for Turkey's incursion into Northern Syria earlier this month.
Turkish forces on September 9 attacked Kurdish militia in northern Syria, pushing them back from the border, after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a withdrawal of American troops from the embattled country three days earlier.
Washington immediately condemned Ankara's military adventure.
Following the passage of the resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, the House approved sanctions against Turkey for its actions in Syria by a vote of 403 to 16. The two votes came as Turkey celebrated its national holiday.
The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution that describes the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century as genocide, a move hailed by Armenia but met with outrage in Ankara.
If it is unacceptable to deny the Jewish Holocaust of WWII, it should not be acceptable to deny what happened to Aremenians in WWI either.