Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he believed the U.S. Senate would not pass a resolution to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide.
“I believe the Senate will act prudently and will not repeat the mistake the House of Representatives made,” Erdogan said in his address at the Diyanet Center of America in Maryland.
On Oct. 29, the anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the House voted 405-11 in favor of the resolution to recognize alleged killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The resolution is not legally binding.
Erdogan reiterated his call for historians to investigate the issue.
“If the U.S. side really wants to act fairly, it should refrain from taking a political stand on a matter that historians should decide.”
The president warned that by listening to one side, giving a verdict on a longstanding issue and taking wrong decisions will lead to irreparable results in Turkey-U.S. relations.
“The U.S. Senate should not surrender to the black propaganda initiated by Armenian terrorist organizations that martyred many of our citizens, most of them diplomats and their family members, in the 1970s and 1980s,” the president added.
The House vote was also a response to Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria and U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull back troops from the area of the operation.
Later in the day, The Hill news website said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham objected to passing a resolution that would recognize the so-called Armenian genocide after Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez sought consent to pass the resolution.
Graham reportedly said senators should not “sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.”
“I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the problems we face in Syria by the military incursion by Turkey. I do hope that Turkey and Armenia can come together and deal with this problem,” Graham was quoted as saying by The Hill.
Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.