Washington, 13 December 2019 (dpa/MIA) – The US Senate on Thursday passed a resolution recognizing as genocide the mass killings of Armenians during World War I.
The Senate voted unanimously to pass the resolution, which says the United States recognizes the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 by the Ottoman Empire. While not legally binding, the resolution is symbolic and carries weight for relations between the US and Turkey.
The passage of the resolution in the Senate comes after the House of Representatives in October overwhelmingly passed a similar non-binding resolution, resulting immediately in new tensions between the two NATO allies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, criticized the resolution, saying: “The US Senate just chose to impose an extremely one-sided view of history for political purposes.”
“We reject these attempts to hurt Turkey for political reasons that have nothing to do with truth,” Altun tweeted.
“History and truth will not change as a result of a vote by US senators!”
Turkey has vehemently rejected the use of the term genocide to describe the mass expulsion and killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, of which Turkey is the successor state.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the time claimed that the approval of the resolution was “revenge” for Ankara’s incursion into northern Syria in mid-October.
Ankara has argued that between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians died, largely due to unrest during World War I, and that their deaths cannot be called a genocide.
Erdogan said last month while visiting US President Donald Trump at the White House that the resolution “cast a shadow on relations” and “offended our people.”