In becoming the 32nd country to recognize the Armenian Genocide, US Senators have defied the Trump administration
The US Senate has approved a resolution recognising the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War as genocide.
The resolution also called for the prevention of attempts to involve the American authorities or to associate them with the denial of the Armenian genocide “or any other genocide.”
Until now, all US presidents, including Donald Trump, have not used the word ‘genocide’ when speaking about the events of 1915.
The Armenian Genocide refers to the massacre of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in between 1915–1922. Before that, about two and a half million Armenians lived on the territory of the Ottoman Empire. As a result of the killings and mass deportation, more than half of them died.
The tragic events in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the last century have been recognized as genocide and condemned by influential international organizations, including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the World Council of Churches and most countries of the EU, Argentina, Russia, Uruguay, Lebanon and others.
Turkey categorically denies that what took place was a genocide.
Former attempts at genocide recognition
The US House of Representatives moved to recognize the genocide on October 30 with 405 voting for the bill and 11 abstaining.
The bill then moved to Senate, where Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican Ted Cruz repeatedly submitted the resolution for discussion in the Senate, but their colleagues blocked its progress.
Over the past two months, since the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution of this kind, three senators vetoed the consideration of this document, saying they were not against the content of the resolution, but that the time had not yet come to adopt it.
The first of these was Senator Lindsay Graham, who vetoed the resolution immediately after the November meeting of Turkish President Erdogan and Trump and explained that he was slowing down the resolution “not because of the past, but because of the future.”
Senator Graham is one of President Trump’s closest associates.
After him, the resolution was blocked by Senators David Purdue and Kevin Kramer.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan commented on the adoption of the resolution by the Senate: “This decision is a decisive step towards justice, truth and recognition of the Armenian Genocide, it is a tribute to the victims and their dignity. We thank Senators Robert Menendez, Ted Cruise, and all members of the US Senate. ”
What’s behind the sudden resolution?
Political observers say the adoption of the resolution is a result of a recent deterioration in relations between the US and Turkey, including:
• Turkey’s military operation against the Syrian Kurds, who were key allies of the Americans in the fight against the Islamic State group.
• Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems, despite US discontent.
After the vote on the genocide back in October, the House of Representatives passed a bill urging Trump to impose sanctions against Turkey, including senior Turkish officials such as the minister of defence, to block the assets of Turkish officials and impose sanctions against Turkish banks.
In addition, the bill instructs Congress to provide information on the assets of the family of Turkish President Erdogan in the United States for further discussion.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan commented on the adoption of the resolution by the Senate:
“This decision is a decisive step towards justice, truth and recognition of the Armenian Genocide, it is a tribute to the victims and their dignity. We thank Senators Robert Menendez, Ted Cruise, and all members of the US Senate.”