October 29, 2019, has become another significant date in the history of Armenians worldwide after the US House of Representatives recognized the systematic killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 onwards in modern-day Turkey as a “genocide”.
The House voted 405-11 on that day, the first time a chamber of the US Congress officially labeled the slaughter as a genocide.
The measure was adopted at a time when Ankara’s military intervention in northern Syria has strained already tense relations between the US political establishment and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The vote was widely seen as a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull American forces from northeastern Syria and the ensuing Turkish military onslaught on Kurdish-administered areas there.
“The adoption of House Resolution 296, which recognizes the Armenian genocide from 1915 to 1923, is first and foremost a victory for truth and justice,” said Levon Avedanian, coordinator of the Armenian National Committee of Lebanon (ANCL) and professor at Haigazian University in Beirut.
“October 29, 2019, is a historical day. This recognition is important for Armenia and Armenians, for Turkey and Turks, and also for the United States, since it places the US on the side of justice, which has, for far too long, been denied to the victims and surviving generations of the Armenian genocide.”
WHAT US POLITICIANS SAID
The House of Represenatives voted 405-11 on Oct. 29 in favor of a resolution recognizing the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as a genocideAvedanian described the recognition as a culmination of 35 years of efforts by Armenian Americans, led by the Armenian National Committee of America, to honor the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the genocide.
In addition to the House of Representatives, 49 US states have acknowledged the Armenian genocide, and a resolution in the Senate – Senate Resolution 150 – is currently gathering pace.
“It is our hope that the Senate resolution will also be adopted and, eventually, (lead to) the US government’s change in its complicity-in-denial policy,” Avedanian said.
“The adopted resolution also calls for educating generations about the Armenian genocide in order to prevent atrocities. As Armenians, we regard genocide recognition and condemnation as important factors in preventing future genocides.”
According to genocide scholars, denial of a genocide is its last stage.
“For Armenians, the denial of the Armenian genocide by Turkey is a continuation of the genocidal policies,” Avedanian said. “In that sense, recognition by Turkey and by members of the international community is an essential foundational step on the long path of restoring justice, which would inevitably also include, in addition to recognition, reparations and restitution.”
In response to the Turkish assault on the Pentagon’s Kurdish allies in Syria, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Turkish defense and energy ministries, as well as several high-profile Turkish officials.
“The House recognition is a major blow to Ankara’s obstruction of justice for the Armenian genocide,” Avedanian said. “The House also adopted another resolution demanding that the US administration impose sanctions against Ankara due to the Turkish incursion in Syria. However, US foreign policy is devised by the State Department and the US administration, so one should not expect that these resolutions will have a lasting effect on US-Turkey ties. Arabnews