The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved in favour of a resolution recognising the Armenian Genocide, which to this day Turkey denies, and also passed a bill aimed at imposing sanctions on Turkish military and government officials over Ankara’s military operation against Syria.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was honoured to stand with the majority of House members “in solemn remembrance of one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century, the systematic murder of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children by the Ottoman Empire”.
The House voted 405-11 in favour of the resolution, which states it is US policy to commemorate the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as “genocide”.
Shortly after this decision was made, lawmakers also backed legislation calling on President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey over its attack in northern Syria.
In a statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the move was not appropriate considering the truce deal agreed between Ankara and Washington.
The measure passed 403-16, with 176 Republicans voting in support and only 15 opposing the bill.
“These sanctions are specifically designed to target the Turkish officials and institutions responsible for the bloodshed in Syria without senselessly hurting the Turkish people,” said Representative Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “When the head of ISIS was finally killed, President Trump, unfortunately, thanked the Turks, thanked the Turkish government. That just doesn’t sit right with me.”
The sanctions bill, named the ‘Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act’, would impose financial and visa penalties on officials connected to Turkey’s offensive in Syria, including the defense minister, the chief of the general staff of the Turkish armed forces and the finance minister, as well as sanction the state-owned bank Halkbank.
The bill would also ban arms sales to Turkey and sanction foreigners providing arms to Turkish forces in Syria. It also seeks to force the administration to impose the previously mandated sanctions for Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
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