The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to officially recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Historians say an estimated 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire — the predecessor to modern-day Turkey — between 1915 and 1923.
The historic vote was 405 to 11 and is seen as a rebuke to Turkey, which has spent nearly a century denying there was a genocide.
Although the U.S. has several times recognized an Armenian genocide through presidential proclamations and House resolutions, this is the first time the full Congress passed a measure making it U.S. policy. It is unclear if the Senate will follow.
So far, there is no reaction by the trump administration.
Turkey: “Shameful Decision and “Revenge”
turkey immediately condemned the “Armenian Genocide” resolution with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling it a “shameful decision of those exploiting history in politics (it is) null and void for our government and people.”
He told reporters that the resolution was Congress’ “revenge” for Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria.
Turkey denies a genocide or any deliberate plan to wipe out the Armenians. They say many of the victims were casualties of World War I, or murdered by Russians. Turkey also says the number of Armenians killed was far fewer than the usually accepted figure of 1.5 million.
“We reject the resolution,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement adding “the resolution, which has apparently been drafted and issued for domestic consumption, is devoid of any historical or legal basis.”
Noting that the resolution is not legally binding and a “meaningless political step,” the ministry said it is only addressed to the Armenian lobby and anti-Turkey groups.
“Those who felt defeated for not being able to forestall Operation Peace Spring would be highly mistaken should they think they could take vengeance this way,” the ministry said.
It added that the Turkish government and people consider the resolution “totally null and void.”
According to diplomatic sources, the Foreign Ministry has summoned U.S. Ambassador to Ankara David Satterfield.
Armenians say they were purposely targeted for extermination through starvation, forced labor, deportation, death marches, and outright massacres.