Turkish officials criticized the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to recognize the Armenian genocide, calling it “devoid of any historical or legal basis.”
The House voted 405-11 in support of the measure Tuesday to recognize the 1915 genocide.
“The House just voted to recognize the Armenian genocide — a vote I fought 19 years to make possible, that tens of thousands of Armenian-American constituents have waited decades to see,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted. “We will not be party to genocide denial. We will not be silent. We will not forget.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement the resolution is “totally null and void” and threatens to disrupt U.S.-Turkey relations at a time when national and international security are “extremely fragile.”
“The resolution, which has apparently been drafted and issued for domestic consumption, is devoid of any historical or legal basis,” the statement said. “The resolution itself is also not legally binding. As a meaningless political step, it’s sole addressees are the Armenian lobby and anti-Turkey groups.”
Turkey contends that the Armenians in eastern Anatolia sided with the invading Russian forces and revolted against Ottoman Turks. The subsequent relocation of Armenians caused the massive genocide.
Turkey contends that it has tried to form a Joint Historical Commission to study what happened more than a century ago but the Armenians rejected it.
The House also passed a bill 403-16 to sanction senior Turkish officials and its army for the invasion of Syria. Turkish contends that it invaded Syria to root out terrorists along the border and clear a safe zone where they can repatriate Syrian refugees.
The United States and Turkey reached a cease-fire earlier this month as U.S. troops pulled out.