The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that recent congressional action to recognize the events of 1915 as an "Armenian genocide" does not reflect the policies of the Trump administration.
In a short statement, the U.S. State Department said that the administration's position on the matter is unchanged.
“The position of the administration has not changed,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a terse two-sentence statement. “Our views are reflected in the president’s definitive statement on this issue from last April,” she said.
Turkey condemned the resolution adopted by the U.S. Senate last week on the events of 1915 calling it "a disgraceful example of the politicization of history" and "a damaging effort" aimed at harming the bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the U.S. move Friday, saying that the U.S. resolution was a shameful example of how history can be politicized.
"The resolution adopted by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 12, 2019, on the events of 1915 is lacking historical awareness or any legal base. The resolution itself is neither legally binding nor valid," the statement said, adding: "those who exploit history by disregarding reality for their political interests will never achieve their aims. This resolution, at the same time, is a damaging effort aimed at interrupting the endeavors to develop strong Turkish-U.S. relations. Turkey's efforts to protect her vital interests in the region will resolutely continue without being affected by such unjust and tactless resolutions."
The Foreign Ministry later summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, David Satterfield, over the Senate bill.
On April 24th, President Donald Trump commemorated Armenian Remembrance Day in a statement that honored “the memory of those who suffered in one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.” It did not, however, use the term “genocide" in keeping with longstanding U.S. policy.
The Senate's action follows a vote by a Senate committee to impose sanctions on Turkey after its operation in Syria and purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system.
The resolution had been blocked several times in the Senate, even though the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming 405-11 in late October.
The resolution asserts that it is U.S. policy to commemorate the 1915 events as "genocide."
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with the invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to examine the issue.
Recognition of the 1915 events as "genocide" had stalled in Congress for decades, stymied by concerns regarding relations with Turkey.
The actions were the latest attempt by Congress to push Trump to take a harder stance against Turkey. Trump said last month that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was “doing a fantastic job for the people of Turkey.''
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