US House passes resolution on events of 1915, imposes sanctions over Syria op
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Oct. 29, officially recognizing the events of 1915, the so-called “Armenian genocide,” a symbolic but unprecedented move that angered Turkey amid already heightened tensions with Washington.
The chamber voted 405 to 11 in support of the measure “affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.”
Passing such a resolution was a first for the U.S. congress where similar measures with such direct language have been introduced for decades but never passed.
The U.S. lawmakers delivered the resolution to Turkey on its national Republic Day, with the so-called genocide measure passing alongside a bill that imposes sanctions over Ankara’s anti-terror operation into northern Syria.
The House also passed a bipartisan measure that imposes sanctions on senior Turkish officials involved in the decision to launch “Operation Peace Spring” into northern Syria.
For the operation, visa- and asset-blocking sanctions will be imposed, the resolution said.
“The President shall impose financial sanctions on the large Turkish state-owned bank known as Halkbank and on any financial institutions that the State Department determines to have knowingly facilitated significant transactions for the Turkish Armed Forces or Turkey's defense industry,” the resolution added.
The House also urged U.S. President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey, in context of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) regarding the latter’s procurement of the Russian S-400 defense systems.
A similar sanctions bill was introduced in the Senate, but no vote has been taken.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.