Fri, 18 Sep 2020

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (Republican-North Dakota) has blocked a resolution that would've officially recognized the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century as genocide.

It was the third time since November 13 that a Republican lawmaker has prevented the Senate from voting on the resolution.

Cramer said on December 5 that he blocked the resolution passed by the House of Representatives on October 29 because it was an inappropriate time and that it would anger Turkey.

'I don't think there's a single member of the Senate who doesn't have serious concerns about Turkey's behavior,' Cramer said, adding, 'At the right time, we may pass it.'

President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans control the Senate whereas Democrats control the House of Representatives, the lower legislative chamber.

Congressional aides told AP that the White House does not want the legislation to move forward during sensitive negotiations with Ankara on issues such as Turkey's incursion in northern Syria and the NATO ally's purchase of a sophisticated Russian missile-defense system, which could lead to U.S. sanctions.

During and immediately after World War I, Ottoman Turks killed or deported as many as 1.5 million Armenians -- a Christian minority in the predominately Muslim empire. Many historians and some other nations consider the killings genocide.

Turkey, a NATO member, objects to the use of the word genocide to describe the killings.

Ankara claims the deaths were a result of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate Armenians.

Turkey also claims fewer Armenians died than has been reported.

Based on reporting by Axios, The Hill, National Review, and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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