Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned on Wednesday a U.S. congressional resolution recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, calling it the “biggest insult” to the Turkish people.
“This step taken has no value,” Erdogan said of the resolution overwhelmingly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. “We do not recognize it.”
“We regard such an accusation as the biggest insult made to our nation,” he told lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
Erdogan also condemned a separate House bill calling for U.S. sanctions on Turkey over its military operation in Syria. The House passed it on Tuesday shortly after adopting the Armenian genocide resolution by 405 votes to 11.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara,David Satterfield, over the two resolutions. The ministry denounced them in separate statements issued overnight. It said the passage of the genocide bill was a “grave mistake.”
By contrast, Armenia swiftly hailed the House’s decision to characterize the slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian called it a “bold step towards serving truth and historical justice.”
Successive Turkish governments have for decades strongly denied a premeditated government effort to exterminate the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Ankara’s continuing denials are dismissed by most scholars outside Turkey.
“The historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence,” the International Association of Genocide Scholars said in 2007.
The House resolution was also praised by Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian member of the Turkish parliament representing the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
“Because my own country has been denying this for 105 years, our tragedy is discussed in other world parliaments,” tweeted Paylan. “The real healing for Armenians will come when we can talk about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey’s own parliament."