Turkish attacks on northern Syria and particularly the Kurds there spurred the House to do something no previous Congress has been willing to do: call a century-old genocide a genocide. On Tuesday, the House voted to formally recognize the 1915 killing by the Ottoman Empire of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, a move that predictably enraged Turkey.
The House bill, which passed by a 405-to-11 margin, rejects “efforts to enlist, engage or otherwise associate the United States government with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other genocide.”
“Recent attacks by the Turkish military against the Kurdish people are a stark reminder of the danger in our own time,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“This shameful decision of those exploiting history in politics is null & void for our Government & people,” Turkey’s foreign minister tweeted in response to the long-overdue vote. But former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power wrote in a New York Times op-ed that, after years of Turkey bullying the U.S. not to recognize the genocide, the vote is “a reminder of how important truth-telling is to American foreign policy, and how ultimately self-defeating it is for the United States to bend to autocratic pressure tactics, whether from Turkey or anywhere else.”