WASHINGTON: The US Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution that recognises as a genocide the alleged mass killings of Armenians a century ago, a move that infuriated Turkey and further strained ties between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey condemned the measure, saying it will not help improve relations with the United States. The two Nato allies are already at loggerheads over several issues, including Ankara’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems and policy over Syria.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming majority in October. But a vote in the Senate was repeatedly blocked by President Donald Trump’s fellow Republican senators.

“By passing my Armenian Genocide resolution, the Senate finally stood up to confirm history,” said Democratic senator Bob Menendez, who was one of the co-authors of the legislation.

The resolution asserts that it is US policy to commemorate as genocide the “killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923”.

Ankara accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2019

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