U.S state department opposes measures against Turkey

A U.S. State Department official said the sanctions against Turkey and the resolution condemning the 1915 Armenian Genocide adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives last week risk straining the country’s relationship with Turkey further, Bloomberg wrote on Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has concerns that the sanctions could cut off options to resolve issues with Turkey, Bloomberg cited an unnamed department official as saying.

The sanctions adopted by the House would hinder the United States’ ability to transfer U.S. weapons and supplies to Turkey to be used in Syria, Bloomberg wrote.

Trump’s government denies that the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria gave Turkey the green light to launch its incursion against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in the area.

The decision resulted in “slaughtering our Syrian Kurdish partners,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said during the debate on the sanctions.

Senator Bob Menendez on Tuesday spoke on the senate floor to announce a new effort to hold Turkey accountable for human rights abuses in Syria.

The senator called Turkey’s acts in Syria “an unconscionable act of brutality” and “atrocities.”

According to the UN, at least 180,000 Kurds –including 80,000 children– were displaced as a result of Turkey’s nine-day-long operation in northern Syria. There have been reports that cite civilian deaths of over 200. 

The state department also opposes the passing of the resolution to condemn the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire.

The timing of the resolution could lead to it being seen as punitive rather than principled, the unnamed official told Bloomberg.

The United States commemorates Meds Yeghern, Armenian for “Great Calamity”, every year and welcomes efforts for reckoning with history regarding the events of 1915 when some 1.5 million Armenians and Anatolian Christians lost their lives, but governments have refrained from using the term genocide for it may hinder a resolution.

Turkey vehemently denies that a genocide took place, arguing that the deaths were both much lower than the cited number of 1.5 million and that they were the result of conditions of war rather than a deliberate act.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday met with U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield to demand an explanation, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the resolution was devoid of any truth.