Trump opposes Turkey sanctions, Armenian genocide resolution

Trump opposes Turkey sanctions, Armenian genocide resolution
The sanctions, which last week passed the House with a whopping 403 votes to 16, risks straining already soured relations with a key NATO ally, a source said.

3 min read
06 November, 2019
The measures risk straining relations between the two NATO allies [Getty]
Washington’s Trump administration is likely expected to oppose sanctions on Turkey, as well as a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide, a senior State Department official said, according to Bloomberg.

The sanctions, which last week passed the House with a whopping 403 votes to 16, risks straining already soured relations with a key NATO ally, the source said.

It came in response to Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria, would target senior Turkish officials, prohibiting them from entering the United States.

It would also prohibit the US from transferring defence materials that could be used in Syria.

Trump had been accused of giving Erdogan "the green light to launch a military invasion of northern Syria" that resulted in "slaughtering our Syrian Kurdish partners who fought alongside the United States" against the Islamic State group, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, said during the debate on the measure.

However, the Trump administration has denied claims that the US withdrawal of forces from Syria gave a go-ahead signal to Ankara.

Meanwhile, a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide, which saw some 1.5 million killed by the Ottoman Empire last century was also passed on the same day.

Read more: Turkey, Syrian allies accused of torture, mutilation of Kurdish fighters after footage surfaces

Turkey has slammed the resolution and summoned US Ambassador David Satterfield in response. It has previously warned such measures would risk leading to a breakdown in relations between the two allies.

On Monday, reports confirmed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may cancel his planned visit to Washington next week in protest at two bills passed by the US House of Representatives, one of which recognised the Armenian genocide.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters: "These steps seriously overshadow ties between the two countries. Due to these decisions, Erdogan's visit has been put on hold."

Erdogan was invited to Washington on 13 November by President Donald Trump.

Read more: Ilhan Omar slammed for refusing to back resolution recognising Armenian genocide

The Turkish president, when asked by reporters last week, said he had not yet made up his mind about whether to go through with a visit to the US.

"I haven't made my decision yet, there is a question mark," he said.

Erdogan slammed the recognition by the US House of Representatives of the "Armenian genocide" as "worthless" and the "biggest insult" to the Turkish people.

His Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also suggested Tuesday's resolution was "revenge" for Turkish actions in Syria.

"From here I am addressing US public opinion and the entire world: this step which was taken is worthless and we do not recognise it," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

"In our faith, genocide is definitely banned," he said. "We consider such an accusation to be the biggest insult to our people."

Erdogan said the House vote was politically-motivated, and hinted that the Turkish parliament would pass a counter resolution.

He did not specify what this would include but in previous speeches he has touched on the mistreatment of Native Americans.

"A country whose history is full of the stain of genocide and slavery neither has the right to say anything nor to lecture Turkey," he said Wednesday.

Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and says that both Armenians and Turks died as a result of the First World War.

It puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands as opposed to the Armenian number of 1.5 million Armenians.

Tuesday's vote was a first for the US Congress, where similar measures with such direct language have been introduced for decades but never passed.

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