US Congress adopts resolution recognizing Armenian genocide

The Tzitzernakaberd memorial to the victims of mass killings by Ottoman Turks, in the Armenian capital Yerevan. (File photo: AP)

The US Congress on Thursday formally recognized the 1915-1917 murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.

The Senate’s passage of the repeatedly stalled resolution is expected to anger Turkey, which insists the Armenians died as a result of World War I, not at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Armenians say the mass killings of their people from 1915 to 1917 amounted to genocide, a claim recognized by some 30 countries.

Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

The US House of Representatives first passed the resolution on October 29 in a vote of 405-11, featuring strong bipartisan support.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, US Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) said it was significant for the US Congress to recognize the mass killings of Armenians as genocide.

“I think the message that that imparts sends to the modern nation of Turkey, our NATO ally, is that their opposition to that resolution is no longer sufficient to stop some of the historical accounting that's been long overdue,” Coons said.

US Senator Chris Coons on resolution recognizing Armenian Genocide:

Two weeks later Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan brought up the issue during his visit to the White House on November 13. Standing next to Trump, Erdogan warned that “some historical developments and allegations are being used in order to dynamite our reciprocal and bilateral relations.”

Allies in the international military alliance NATO, the US and Turkey are also currently at odds over Ankara’s decision to procure S-400 Russian defense systems.

Turkey said on Wednesday it would retaliate against any US sanctions over its purchase of the S-400 defenses.

(With agencies)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:01 - GMT 07:01
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