By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – A Republican U.S. senator blocked a resolution on the 1915 events during the Ottoman era on Thursday, citing ongoing diplomatic engagements between Washington and Ankara.
Sen. David Perdue raised objection during an unanimous consent call needed for the bipartisan measure to advance.
"This administration continues its engagement with Turkey's leadership on the heels of President Trump's meeting with President Erdogan just last week," Perdue said. "In light of these diplomatic efforts, I respectfully object to this resolution at this time."
Sen. Robert Menendez, the resolution's co-sponsor along with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, had sought consent to pass the resolution after Sen. Lindsey Graham similarly blocked it last week.
On Oct. 29, the anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 405-11 in favor of a resolution to recognize alleged killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as ''genocide''. The resolution is not legally binding.
Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.