[guest post by Dana]
I would expect nothing less from Turkey:
Turkey has summoned the U.S. ambassador after lawmakers in Washington voted to recognize Ottoman-era mass killings of Armenians as a genocide and called for sanctions against Ankara.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution recognizing the genocide — which Ankara denies — and passed a bill aiming to impose fresh sanctions on Turkey over its military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.
In response, the Turkish government on Wednesday morning summoned David Satterfield, the U.S. representative in Ankara, the state news agency Anadolu reported.
The Turkish foreign ministry rejected the genocide recognition as “meaningless” and “devoid of any historical or legal basis” in a statement issued late Tuesday, suggesting that lawmakers had approved the resolution to “take vengeance” against Turkey over its incursion into Syria.
“Undoubtedly, this resolution will negatively affect the image of the U.S. before the public opinion of Turkey as it also brings the dignity of the U.S. House of Representatives into disrepute,” the statement added.
Turkey continues to deny that a genocide took place:
The Armenian genocide — the massacre and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks in 1915 — is a sensitive issue in Turkey.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire died during World War I, but denies that the killings were systematic and firmly rejects the label genocide.
And speaking of expecting nothing less, Rep. Ilhan Omar was the only Democrat to vote “present” on the Armenian genocide resolution. When criticized for her decision, her office took the opportunity to politicize that which she claims should not be politicized:
I believe accountability for human rights violations — especially ethnic cleansing and genocide — is paramount. But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics. A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the Unites States record on the Armenian Genocide.
Because the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians and Christian minorities on its own, doesn’t constitute a genocide on its own, I guess. However, when you consider both Omar’s “present” vote and vote against sanctioning Turkey after its military actions against the Kurdish forces in light of her affinity for Turkey’s President Erdogan, it all makes sense, unpleasant as it may be.
And about that “academic consensus” blather, how does Omar not understand that by acknowledging and recognizing that one genocide took place, does not negate that others have taken place as well:
The mention of an “academic consensus” being necessary for recognition is perplexing, given the consensus among historians that the genocide is historical fact. To dispute the existence of this consensus is shameful and akin to denial. For Omar to invoke a “whataboutist” argument, as she does in mentioning Native Americans, similarly discounts the matter that she was expected to consider exclusively when the resolution was on the House floor. Genocide-denial tactics used by Turkey include attacking the motivations of the truth teller. Omar does the same thing by framing this bill as a political cudgel (which it’s not — H.Res. 296 was introduced in April). An acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide does not preclude an acknowledgment of any other genocides, and Omar could have voiced her opinion on the atrocities she cites after voting to recognize the one that her colleagues resoundingly voted in favor or formally recognizing.
Omar’s decision, as well as the decision of eleven Republicans to oppose the bill, fails to live up to the role of a witness of justice. There is no justice without recognition, and opposing measures that aim to affirm the U.S.’ stance as a protector of the persecuted is dishonorable. Victims of genocide die two deaths. Once at the hands of their persecutor, and again when the genocide is denied.
P.S. Shame on the 11 Republicans who voted against the resolution.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)