Turkey lashes at US resolution on 1915 Armenian events
A vote by the United States senators that recognizes the 1915 mass killings of Armenians as genocide is a shameful example of the politicization of the history for political purposes, Turkish officials have criticized, urging Washington that this is a campaign to further hit Turkish-American ties.
“U.S. Senate Resolution is nothing more than a political show. It is not legally binding and it has no validity whatsoever.
Those who want to exploit history for political ends are cowards unwilling to face the truth,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on his Twitter account right after the Senate’s vote late Dec. 12.
Attempts to put the non-binding resolution to a Senate vote had been blocked three times upon the complaints of the White House on the timing of the move.
The fourth attempt has resulted in a unanimous vote for the recognition of the mass killings of the Armenians during the World War I as genocide.
The House of Representative had already adopted a similar resolution in October in a 405-11 vote.
The Senate’s move followed its Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill for sanction on Turkey because of its recent military operation in Syria and the purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
Akar: Armenian resolution 'unfounded
Politicians have no basis for making decisions on historical issues, said Turkey's national defense minister on Dec. 13, arguing against lawmakers passing resolutions on the events of 1915.
"Politicians making decisions or making claims on this historical issue is unfounded," Hulusi Akar told a military graduation ceremony in the Aegean city of İzmir, referring to recent U.S. congressional resolutions on the Armenian claims.
He added that anyone who looks at the archives can see that the hands of the Turkish nation are clean and have never been associated with the alleged incidents.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy advisor and spokesman İbrahim Kalın strongly condemned and rejected the Senate vote. “This decision that we declare null and void will not change Turkey’s right and determined stance on any political, military and economic field,” he stressed.
Congress is damaging bilateral ties
Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also criticized the move in a tweet, stressing, “The behavior of some members of the U.S. Congress is damaging the Turkish-American ties.
The sanctions bill that passed yesterday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Armenian resolution that passed today in the Senate endanger the future of our bilateral relationship.”
Altun recalled that Turkey has long been proposing to establish a joint group to study the claims on the 1915 events with expressions that “history should not be something that divides nations but unites them.”
“But some members of the U.S. congress in the last few months made every attempt to disregard the viewpoint and sensitivities of a NATO ally and acted irresponsibly to strain the ties between two nations and two states,” he stated.
“The resolutions will not bring any good to the relations between Turkey and the U.S. As we stated previously we expect our Armenian brothers to stand up and prevent the U.S. Congress to destroy any attempt to reconcile our differences through scientific and academic channels.”
‘Disgraceful examples of politicization of history’
A written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry has underlined that the resolution is devoid of “historical awareness and any legal base. The resolution itself is neither legally binding nor valid.”
“This resolution of the Senate is one of the disgraceful examples of politicization of history. However, those who exploit history by disregarding reality for their political interests will never achieve their aims,” it added.
This resolution, at the same time, is a damaging effort aiming at interrupting the endeavors to develop Turkish-U.S. relations, the ministry stressed, adding “Turkey’s efforts to protect her vital interests in the region will resolutely continue without being affected from such unjust and tactless resolutions.”
Lawmakers slam US resolution on Armenian events
Turkey's energy and natural resources minister lashed out on Dec. 12 at a U.S. resolution recognizing Armenian claims of 1915 events.
"I hope they will take back their mistake [so that]...we put our relations on the right track," Fatih Dönmez told lawmakers in parliament.
“I condemn the U.S. Senate's decision on the Armenian events.”
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution earlier in the day that recognizes the so-called Armenian genocide.
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with 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 plus international experts to examine the issue.
During her speech in parliament, the deputy chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also condemned the resolution.
"This decision is null and void for us," said Özlem Zengin.
The deputy chair of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said they condemn the move.
"Turkey will never bow to U.S. imperialism," said Engin Özkoç.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy chair Levent Bülbül called on the parties to move together against the U.S. resolution.
"We should take a joint move against this decision, which consists of slanders," he said.
The opposition Good Party's deputy chair Musavat Dervişoğlu called on the parties represented in parliament to issue a join condemnation of the resolution.
"I hope the Turkish parliament will give the necessary response [to the U.S. Senate]," he said.