The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs voted 23-22 March 2 to adopt a resolution that recognizes the Ottoman Empire’s treatment of Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. In his opening remarks, committee chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), noted that every country must face uncomfortable issues its past, stating, “It is now time for Turkey to accept the reality of the Armenian Genocide.”
The non-binding resolution “calls upon the President in the President’s annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.”
Obama administration officials had urged the committee not to hold the vote, fearing that such a resolution could damage relations with Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan condemned the resolution, denying the charges and warning the resolution could harm Turkey’s relationship with the US and Armenia. Turkey also recalled its ambassador to the US after the vote. It is not known whether the full House of Representatives will vote on the resolution. A similar resolution was passed by the committee in 2007, but it never reached the House floor.
From Jurist, March 5. Used with permission.