The US Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes as a genocide the mass killings of Armenians a century ago, Reuters reported.
The resolution asserts that it is US policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. The Ottoman Empire was centered in present-day Turkey.
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.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming 405-11 in late October. But a vote in the Senate, where President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a majority of seats, had been blocked several times by Republican senators.
Turkey, which summoned the US ambassador for a dressing down following the October vote in the House, said on Thursday that Congress’ recognition of the Armenian genocide puts US-Turkey ties at risk.
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.
Header: Armenian woman kneeling beside dead child in field (Photo: Library of Congress)