The US Senate blocked on Wednesday a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a scathing attack on the House of Representatives, which passed the resolution in late October.
Erdogan, standing next to President Trump in the White House, said that the resolution passed at the House of Representatives “would dynamite our bilateral relations… It was aimed to hurt our nation and cast a deep shadow in our relations.”
“We have nothing to hide,” Erdogan insisted, and said he was willing to “open the archives reciprocally” with Armenia “and establish a history commission.”
“I believe the [U.S.] Senate will take the United States out of this vicious cycle,” he sniped, complaining that Congress has continued to draw global attention to a sore spot for Ankara.
Right on cue, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blocked the resolution. Graham objected to the passing of the resolution in the Senate, saying senators shouldn’t “sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.”
Under the Senate’s rules, any one senator can ask for consent to pass a bill or resolution, but any one senator can also block it.
Graham’s objection came hours after he took part in a White House meeting with Trump, Erdogan and a group of GOP senators.
“I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the problems we face in Syria by the military incursion by Turkey. I do hope that Turkey and Armenia can come together and deal with this problem,” Graham added on the Senate floor.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who orchestrated the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the House, asked for consent to pass the resolution which would have provided “official recognition and remembrance” of the Armenian genocide.
“The United States foreign policy must reflect an honest accounting of human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We cannot turn our backs on the Armenian victims of genocide,” the Representative declared.
The resolution passed the House in by an overwhelming vote of 405-11. Turkey does not recognize the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide.
Erdogan arrived at the White House under heavy security and was largely shielded from the view of the several hundred demonstrators, including Armenian, Kurdish, Jewish and Greek groups, who gathered in nearby Lafayette Park waving signs and chanting, “Turkey out of Syria!” and “Erdogan go home!”
But in a brief news conference after their meeting, President Trump praised the Turkish leader, saying he was a “big fan” of Erdogan’s.