The US Senate on Thursday passed a resolution formally recognising the genocide of Armenians from 1915 to 1923 by the Ottoman empire, in defiance of both US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The resolution states, "it is the policy of the United States to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance," describing the genocide as "the killing of an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923."
It was passed by unanimous consent after Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, brought it up for consideration on the floor. Under Senate rules, legislation can pass by unanimous consent without a roll call vote as long as no senator objects.
"By passing my Armenian Genocide resolution, the Senate finally stood up to confirm history," said Senator Menendez.
The House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming 405-11 in late October, however, a vote in the Senate, where President Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a majority of seats, had been blocked several times by Republican senators.
The designation as a genocide by Congress is a significant political development as Turkey maintains to this day denies the killings and disputes the death toll.
Turkish presidential spokesperson Fahrettin Altun tweeted after the vote "The behavior of some members of the U.S. Congress is damaging the Turkish-American ties."
The US Senate just chose to impose an extremely one-sided view of history for political purposes.
We reject these attempts to hurt Turkey for political reasons that have nothing to do with truth.
History and truth will not change as a result of a vote by US senators!
— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) December 12, 2019
"History will note these resolutions as irresponsible and irrational actions by some members of the US Congress against Turkey," he added, referring to Thursday's measure and a bill that would impose sanctions on Turkey that made it through a Senate committee on Wednesday. "They will go down in history as the responsible party for causing a long-lasting damage between two nations."