US House passes bills on Armenia claims, Syria op
Lawmakers vote on separate measures that seek to recognize so-called Armenian genocide and impose sanctions on Turkey
The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday on two separate resolutions related to Turkey that overwhelmingly received bipartisan support.
The first resolution, passed 405-11, seeks to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide. It was introduced by Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
A bipartisan bill was also passed 403-16 seeking to impose sanctions on Turkey over its anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria.
Introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Lead Republican Michael McCaul, the bill seeks to sanction Turkish officials involved in the operation and banks involved in the defense sector.
It also seeks to prohibit American arms exports to the Turkish military.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
The measures move on to the Senate for consideration.
Shortly after the votes, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said "the resolution, which has apparently been drafted and issued for domestic consumption, is devoid of any historical or legal basis."Noting that the resolution is not legally binding and a “meaningless political step,” the ministry said it is only addressed to the Armenian lobby and anti-Turkey groups.
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