Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has urged fellow lawmakers to oppose a resolution recognizing the Armenian allegations against Turkey, saying first it should clean its own house.
The U.S. Congress first needs to worry about “earlier mass slaughters” committed by the U.S. “like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide,” Democratic Congresswoman Omar told CNN in a statement late Tuesday.
Those “historical crimes against humanity” by the U.S. “took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people,” she added.
Professional historians bear out this analysis. According to Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a “vast genocide … the most sustained on record.”
David E. Stannard, a historian at the University of Hawaii, said native Americans had undergone the “worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed… consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people.”
In the House vote on the so-called “Armenian genocide” resolution, the Minnesota congresswoman voted “present,” along with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.
She stressed that the Armenian issue “should not be used as cudgel in a political fight” against Turkey.
Turkish officials have condemned the House resolution and early Wednesday summoned U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield to express their strong opposition to the bill.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the 1915 incidents as “genocide,” rather calling it a tragedy in which both Turks and Armenians suffered casualties in the heat of World War I.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia under the supervision of international experts to examine the issue.
U.S. lawmakers also passed a bill seeking to impose sanctions on Turkey over anti-terror operation in northern Syria, which was launched on Oct. 9 to secure its borders against terrorist infiltration and relocate millions of Syrian refugees to a terror-free safe zone in their homeland.
“We strongly condemn the adoption of a draft bill that envisages sanctions against Turkey on the basis of Operation Peace Spring in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Congress is threatening sanctions and playing the Armenian card because Turkey foiled U.S. designs in northern Syria.