Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara in the aftermath of yesterday’s vote at the House of Representatives to recognize the events of 1915 during the Ottoman Empire as Armenian genocide.
Diplomatic sources, speaking to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, told that Turkish authorities expressed to U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield their strong criticism of Tuesday’s vote as well as a bill threatening fresh sanctions on Turkey for its counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria.
Earlier today , Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a statement rejecting the U.S. resolution which is not legally binding. “The resolution, which has apparently been drafted and issued for domestic consumption, is devoid of any historical or legal basis,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the events of 1915.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, with lawmakers voting 405-11.
Turkey 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.
For decades, measures recognizing the Armenian genocide have stalled in the U.S. Congress, stymied by concerns that it could complicate relations with Turkey and intense lobbying by the Ankara government.
Will Turkey recall its ambassador in Washington?
Several official U.S. documents had already described the events of 1915 as genocide before Tuesday’s vote. The House of Representatives adopted resolutions to commemorate the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. Former U.S President Ronald Reagan also described the events as genocide in his speech in 1981.
When the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House recognized the genocide in March 2010, Turkey had recalled its ambassador in Washington in order to protest the vote. Today, it is not certain yet whether Ankara will recall Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kılıç.