Trump Claims Organized, Turkish Massacres Of Armenians Were Not Genocide
Both the U.S. House and Senate voted last week on resolutions condemning the massacre of Christian Armenians by Turkey in 1915 as genocide, but President Donald Trump’s administration has said it does not agree.
The resolution passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 405 to 11 vote in the House.
BBC News reported that while the administration does consider the Turkish treatment of Armenians near the end of the Ottoman Empire’s reign to be atrocities, Trump does not believe it rises to the level of genocide.
Armenia claims that 1.5 million people died during the killing in an attempt to wipe out the entire ethnic group, but Turkey says the number is more like 300,000 and denies that it was an orchestrated effort of ethnic cleansing.
Turkey's authoritarian president Recip Tayyip Erdogan threatened to close down Incirlik air base after the House and Senate votes, which is a base in Turkey that houses U.S. nuclear warheads.
Erdogan called the resolutions "worthless" and the "biggest insult" to Turkish people.
BBC News noted that Trump acknowledged the mass killings in April, saying in a statement marking the anniversary that Armenians were victims of "one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century" but failing to use the term “genocide.”
On Tuesday, the State Department said in a statement: "The position of the administration has not changed. Our views are reflected in the president's definitive statement on this issue from last April.”
Attempts to pass the resolution in the Senate were blocked more than once, with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blocking one vote at the White House’s request.
Trump has signaled his affinity for Erdogan several times, saying just last month that he is a “big fan” of the Turkish dictator during Erdogan’s visit to the White House.