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US House votes to recognize Armenian genocide and to impose sanctions on Turkey
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US House votes to recognize Armenian genocide and to impose sanctions on Turkey

The US House of Representatives voted in favor of two measures on Tuesday that admonish Turkey for its recent military incursion into northern Syria: a resolution that recognizes the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of Armenians and a bill that authorizes various sanctions against Turkey.

The resolution recognizes and condemns the killing of nearly 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) from 1915 to 1923. It also aims to encourage the education of the public on the facts of the Armenian genocide and denounces efforts to deny the genocide. The resolution on a topic that Turkey finds sensitive marks a chilling of relations between it and the US.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director stated in a press release:

“…this vote exposed in powerful ways Ankara’s attempts to enlist America in its obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide. “

The House’s bill mirrors the Executive Order President Donald Trump issued two weeks ago. Like the Executive Order, it authorizes sanctions against Turkey’s government officials who are responsible for Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, against any individual who has directly or indirectly helped Turkey in this, and against any financial institution that has facilitated transactions relating to the offensive on Turkey’s behalf.

The sanctions freeze individuals’ assets in or under the control of the US and also revoke and/or deny visas to enter the US.

The bill also authorizes certain special sanctions (CAATSA Section 231 sanctions) on the Government of Turkey for its acquisition of the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system in July of this year.

According to the bill, such measures were necessary because Turkey’s actions have the potential of causing a severe humanitarian crisis in the region, and because they undermine the US’s efforts to defeat ISIS, which in turn poses a threat to the US’s national security and foreign policy.

Now that the House has passed these measures, the next step is for the Senate to vote on them.