Armenian genocide resolution shelved, as US Senate recesses

Armenian genocide resolution shelved, as US Senate recesses

Tolga Tanış / WASHINGTON
Armenian genocide resolution shelved, as US Senate recesses

111th U.S. Senate class photo

A resolution that recognizes the 1915-16 killings of Ottoman Armenians as a genocide, which passed at the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on April 10 by bipartisan vote, has failed to reach the floor.

Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, had presented the bill last week.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of Ottoman Empire. 

Turkey disputes the figure, arguing that only 500,000 died, denying it was genocide and ascribing the toll to fighting and starvation during World War I.

Having passed the 18-member committee with 12 ayes and 5 nays, the bill was not put on the agenda for a 100-member floor vote on April 11, the last working day before a two-week Easter recess. 

The bill, S.RES.410, has already become obselete, as Congress will return from recess on April 28. The first article of the bill calls "to remember and observe the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014." 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry had urged the U.S. Congress not to “harm bilateral ties” between the two countries by carrying the resolution to the legislative agenda.

“It’s important that the U.S. Congress does not carry this resolution or similar ones to the legislative agenda, but rather makes efforts to reinforce our historical alliance and partnership, which have an importance more than ever in the current conjuncture, instead of harming bilateral relations with non-constructive initiatives,” the ministry's statement released on April 11 said.