Late in the day Tuesday the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of adopting a historic resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. This, it should be noted, on the 96th anniversary of the founding of Turkey as a republic no less.
And in another major simultaneous “gift” to Turkey’s Erdogan — what headlines are already calling a “double whammy” — the House also voted overwhelmingly to approve a biting sanctions bill that if signed into law would crush Turkey’s economy and target Erdogan’s financial assets personally over his controversial military incursion into northern Syria.
Ankara has for years successfully lobbied against any such Congressional resolution on the 1915 Armenian genocide, treating it as an embarrassing and grievous wound to its reputation, also given the severe censorship within the country over this chapter in modern Turkey’s history.
It’s de facto illegal in Turkey to even acknowledge it, and over the past years multiple journalists, Armenians among them, have gone to jail for writing about the historic mass killings.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to condemn the resolution, H.R.296, dismissing it as a “delusion” of the “Armenian lobby and anti-Turkey groups” and further that it will only serve to damage future US-Turkey relations.
The measure recognizes the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Turkish military forces of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. It also recognizes other Christian groups exterminated by Turkish Muslim forces, including “Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians,” according to the resolution’s text.