WASHINGTON, March 4 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a resolution to label the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I as "genocide."
The resolution was passed by a 23-22 margin, even though the White House had urged the House panel not to adopt it.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called Howard Berman, chairman of House Committee on Foreign Affairs, trying to persuade him from carrying out the vote, according to the White House. Despite Clinton's appeal, Berman decided to press ahead with it.
President Barrack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday, urging him to quickly ratify a protocol signed by Turkey and Armenia last year to normalize relations. The deal has not been approved by either country.
Turkey had warned the approval of the resolution could impede progress on the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, and harm U.S. cooperation with this important Middle East player on issues of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
In response to the move by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Turkey temporarily recalled its ambassador to the United States just minutes after the resolution was approved.
"We condemn this resolution which charges Turkish nation with a crime that it did not commit," the Turkish government said in a statement on Thursday.
Armenians claim that more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a systematic genocide in the hands of the Ottomans during World War I, before modern Turkey was born in 1923.
The Turkish government insists the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600-year-old empire collapsed in the years before 1923.