The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly reaffirmed that the U.S. government should recognize the century-old killings of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide.
The resolution, which is not legally binding, marked the first time in 35 years that either chamber of Congress labeled as genocide the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, which is now modern-day Turkey, between 1915 and 1923 . A similar House resolution passed in 1984.
Support for the measure — particularly among some Democrats — grew after Turkey’s recent incursion against the Kurds along the Turkish-Syrian border, which killed about 200 Kurds and displaced more than 200,000.
“Given that the Turks are once again involved in ethnic cleansing the population — this time the Kurds who live along the Turkish-Syrian border — it seemed all the more appropriate to bring up a resolution about the Ottoman efforts to annihilate an entire people in the Armenian genocide,” said resolution sponsor Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank).
The vote on the bipartisan resolution came on the heels of House passage of economic sanctions against Turkey.