“The position of the administration has not changed. Our views are reflected in the President’s definitive statement on this issue from last April,” State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said on Tuesday.
While Trump did not explicitly refer to the 1915-1923 events as a “genocide” in his April statement, he used the Armenian phrase:
“Meds Yeghem,” meaning “big massacres,” and publicly honored the memory of some 1.5 million Armenians “who suffered in one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.”
Ortagus’ statement poured cold water on the possibility that Trump would follow along with the unanimous resolution, passed by the House in November and by the Senate on December 12, which said that “it is the policy of the United States to commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance.”
The Senate’s vote came just a day after its Foreign Relations Committee approved sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defense system and its military actions in northeast Syria, and the bill’s sponsors acknowledged it is intended to “change behavior” of the Turkish government.
Trump has previously stated he opposed the resolution because it would strain already-distressed relations with Ankara, which has called the vote “a political show” with “no validity whatsoever.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted they could retaliate with their own resolution recognizing the Native American genocide, while threatening to shut down the strategic US/NATO bases of Incirlik and Kurecik should more sanctions from Washington follow.