US House votes to recognize Armenian genocide

House of Representatives passes resolution rebuking the Ottoman Empire's genocide against the Armenian people by majority of 405-11.

Ben Ariel,

US Capitol
US Capitol
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The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution officially recognizing and rebuking the Ottoman Empire's genocide against the Armenian people and rejecting any efforts to enlist the US government in denying that the genocide took place.

The measure, which was introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a vice chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, passed by a majority of 405-11 vote, according to The Hill.

“Many American politicians, diplomats and institutions have rightly recognized these atrocities as a genocide, including America's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, Henry Morgenthau, and Ronald Reagan," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) said on the floor ahead of the vote.

"Only by shining a light on the darkest parts of our history can we learn not to repeat them and properly acknowledging what occurred is a necessary step in achieving some measure of justice for the victims,” he added.

The bill emphasizes the position of the House that US policy will "(1) commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance; (2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and (3) encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity."

The resolution comes amid US tensions with Turkey following Ankara's military incursion into northern Syria after the Trump administration pulled troops from the area earlier this month.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead.

Turkey -- the Ottoman Empire's successor state -- strongly rejects that the massacres, imprisonment and forced deportation of Armenians from 1915 amounted to a genocide.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed Tuesday’s vote in the House of Representatives, saying the decision was "null and void".

"Those whose projects were frustrated turn to antiquated resolutions. Circles believing that they will take revenge this way are mistaken. This shameful decision of those exploiting history in politics is null &void for our Government and people," he wrote on Twitter.

In 2016, Germany recognized the massacre of the Armenians as a genocide, similarly raising the ire of Turkey which recalled its ambassador to Germany.

Earlier that year, Turkey similarly pulled its ambassador to Austria after the European nation recognized the Armenian genocide.

Russia also has recognized the Armenian genocide, angering NATO-member Turkey.

Former US President Barack Obama had chosen not to recognize the genocide, despite an election promise he made during his 2008 presidential campaign to do so.




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