The AAA said in a statement on Monday that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) will officially introduce the measure later this month. Specifically, the statement highlighted the fact that “the Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacre of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”
The Armenian diaspora in the US generally intensifies its lobbying activities in Congress ahead of April 24, “Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day,” to push Washington and Congress to endorse referring to the killings of Armenians as genocide. Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
The issue has also previously roiled US-Turkish relations. A move by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2010 to advance a nonbinding resolution to the House of Representatives recognizing the killings as genocide caused Turkey to temporarily recall its ambassador to Washington. The resolution was opposed by the Obama administration. Ultimately, the full House of Representatives did not bring the measure up for a vote.