President Trump’s decision to remove American military forces from northern Syria, and the subsequent invasion of the area by Turkey, has provoked howls of outrage in Washington, D.C. Now the House of Representatives is targeting Turkey with votes on two bills – one symbolic and one that would have consequences for Turkish officials if signed into law.
The symbolic resolution is House Resolution 296, concerning the Armenian genocide, which occurred in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. It states:
That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that it is the policy of the United States to—
(1) commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance;
(2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and
(3) encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.
While this will not change official U.S. foreign policy, it is aimed squarely at Turkey. That nation has strongly denied that the there was ever an official policy by the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey, to massacre Armenians. It objects to any statement by the U.S. government that recognizes such a genocide.
The second bill is HR 4695. As described by VoteSpotter, that bill would “block the transfer of assets belonging to senior Turkish officials and deny them entry into the United States in response to Turkish military action in norther Syria. The legislation would also prohibit some arms sales to the Turkish military.”
If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump, HR 4685 would subject the Turkish president and other Turkish military and government officials to financial restrictions on any assets in the U.S.
With the bipartisan condemnation of Turkish actions in northern Syria, these two bills may pass with bipartisan support. It is unclear if the sanctions bill will be taken up by the Senate.
Do you support imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to its military actions in Syria?