Turkish lawmakers on Wednesday denounced two resolutions passed by U.S. House members, saying these would damage an already-fraught relationship between the two countries that's been sorely tested in recent weeks.
In an address to the ruling AK Party, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned a nonbinding resolution to recognize the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide, which Turkey denies. The bill passed in the House, 405-11.
The other bill was to sanction high-ranking Turkish officials and Turkey's army for a cross-border military offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters that took place soon after President Trump abruptly decided to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria. That House measure passed 403-16.
Ankara views the Kurds — who fought alongside American forces against the Islamic State group – as terrorists and a threat to Turkish security.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his ruling party on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
“These efforts … were passed by the House of Representatives, using a negative air that has formed against our country among the American public,” Erdogan said. “In a sense, they were being opportunistic.”
Turkey disputes allegations of mass deportations and the killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915. It has called for a committee of historians to investigate the episode.
"We are saddened that a slander against our country is being accepted by a country's parliament," Erdogan said.
Erdogan is scheduled to meet with President Trump in a U.S. visit next month. He had not decided if the trip will take place as planned, though, according to Reuters.
In this April 24, 2019, file photo, protesters hold portraits of Armenian intellectuals during a rally held to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Turks in Istanbul. The House voted overwhelmingly to recognize the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said it summoned U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield on Wednesday over the resolutions, suggesting the resolutions would "negatively affect the image of the U.S. before the public opinion of Turkey."
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was wrong for American lawmakers to use the Armenian genocide vote to vent frustrations over Turkey's military actions in Syria.
“They are trying to avenge this, there is no other explanation,” he told reporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.