Turkey’s Erdogan Condemns US House Resolutions as ‘Slander’

Turkey calls on Trump to publicly reject Armenian genocide

From 1914 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire carried out a broad campaign of expulsion and extermination against ethnic Armenian citizens. This has been described as the Armenian Genocide, and it’s something that present-day Turkey, which idealizes some aspects of the Turkification of the waning Ottoman Empire, would just as soon not be mentioned.

Officially, within Turkey, it was a justified relocation of “Armenian gangs,” and the government broadly disputes the 1.5 million killed estimate, though again with the emphasis that it was officially justified.

Still, it’s a big deal in Turkey, and with US lawmakers mad at Turkey about Syria, it was inevitable that the House would pass a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, something US ties with Turkey generally precludes. It was also inevitable that Turkey would be furious.

Turkey’s President Erdogan declared that he “strongly condemns” the House resolutions, calling them a “slander against our country,” and “the biggest insult toward our nation.” Turkey also summoned the US Ambassador to warn of a breakdown in US-Turkey relations.

This could indeed have long-term ramifications, because with all these US Representatives now having publicly voted to recognize the genocide, it’s going to be really hard for a future US government to unrecognize it to make Turkey happy.

Turkey would just as soon undo this whole House vote, and is pressuring the White House to do something. And not just veto the resolution, which would be difficult enough. They are asking Trump to issue a public statement rejecting the House vote, and expressing US opposition to the recognition of the genocide. There is no word out of the White House, but that’s a big ask, and a tough one to imagine Trump delivering on.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.