Washington (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes as a genocide the mass killings of Armenians a century ago, a move likely to infuriate Turkey and further strain ties between Ankara and Washington.
The resolution asserts that it is U.S. policy to commemorate as genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. The Ottomon Empire was centered in present-day Turkey.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the resolution by an overwhelming 405-11 in late October. But a vote in the Senate, where President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a majority of seats, had been blocked several times by Republican senators.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds over a number of issues including their disagreements on the Syrian civil war and Ankara’s purchase of Russian weapons that Washington says is not compatible with U.S. and NATO systems.