‘Double Whammy’ House approves sanctions against Turkey; recognizes Armenian genocide

In a remarkable rebuke of a NATO ally, the House on Tuesday approved a biting sanctions bill that could cripple Turkey’s economy and would punish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally by requiring an assessment of his net worth amid questions inside Turkey about his finances.

Lawmakers also passed a deeply contentious measure to commemorate the Armenian genocide, a historic move that will almost certainly exacerbate U.S.-Turkey tensions. The genocide measure officially recognizes the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.

For years, Turkey’s government had successfully lobbied to kill such congressional resolutions, pressuring presidents and lawmakers alike. The Turks have arguing the Armenians who died during that era were victims of civil war and unrest, not genocide. On Tuesday, it passed by an overwhelming vote of 405-to-11, with three lawmakers voting “present.” 

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