US Formally Recognizes Armenian Genocide

The US House of Representatives voted 405-11 to recognize the Armenian genocide during World War I by the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. As per conservative estimates, more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman forces.

Crux of the Matter
  • This resolution comes on the heels of the recent invasion of Syria by Turkey where Turkish forces assaulted Kurdish forces. Ground reports mentioned massive human rights violations by the Turkish army on Kurdish common folk.
  • The Turkish assault on the Kurds was facilitated by President Trump’s move to pull out American troops after a call with Turkish president Erdogan. The House also voted overwhelmingly to impose economic sanctions on Turkey for their military misadventure.
  • Turkey has long denied the genocide and the country’s foreign minister condemned the resolution as “an attempt to rewrite history”.
  • House speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) said, “If we ignore history, then we are destined to witness the mistakes of the past be repeated. Recent attacks by the Turkish military against the Kurdish people are a stark reminder of the danger in our own time.”
  • Notably, Democrat representative Ilhan Omar, who had recently publicly condemned India on the Kashmir issue and refused to acknowledge Pakistan’s hand in promoting cross border terrorism in the valley, refrained from supporting the resolution.

The Armenian Genocide was the mass systematic extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians within the Ottoman Empire (most of whom were citizens) by the Ottoman government from approximately 1914 to 1923. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to the region of Angora (Ankara), 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. More Info