On December 12th, the US Senate passed a resolution formally recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against the Armenian people.
The move is strongly opposed by the Turkish government, and is another symptom of the dead-end of relations between Washington and Ankara and how the two appear to be drifting apart.
In addition to giving “recognition and remembrance” to the Armenian genocide, the resolution also rejects attempts to “enlist, engage, or otherwise associate” the U.S. government with denial of genocide and “encourage education and public understanding” of it.
Sen. Bob Menendez passed the resolution, which provides “official recognition and remembrance” of the Armenian genocide, by consent.
“We have just passed the Armenian genocide resolution … and it is fitting and appropriate that the Senate stands on the right side of history in doing so. It commemorates the truth of the Armenian genocide,” Menendez said.
Under the Senate’s rules any senator can ask to pass a resolution. As long as another senator doesn’t object, the measure will clear the chamber. The Armenian genocide resolution passed the House in a 405-11 vote.
Previously, the Republican members of Senate blocked the resolution, under pressure of the White House in order to not negatively impact relations with Turkey.
Sen. Ted Cruz noted that it was the fourth time that supporters have tried to pass the resolution.
“This is the third week in a row we have come to the Senate floor seeking to pass this resolution, and I’m grateful that today we have succeeded,” Cruz said. “This is a moment of truth that was far too long coming.”
This resolution passed one day after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Turkey sanctions legislation, underscoring the deteriorating relations.
In response, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the vote a “political show” on social media, adding that “it is not legally binding and it has no validity whatsoever.”
Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, quoted Cavusoglu as saying that those who use history for political purposes are “cowards who do not want to face the truth”.
Turkey’s foreign ministry also issued a statement condemning the vote as “one of the shameful examples of how history can be politicized.”
In October, the Democratic-led House of Representatives had passed the resolution by an overwhelming majority.
“This is a tribute to the memory of 1.5 million victims of the first #Genocide of the 20th century and bold step in promotion of the prevention agenda. #NeverAgain,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on social media following the vote.
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