The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region welcomed the introduction of two ‘Stop Investment in Turkey’ bills in the California State Assembly and Senate, AB1019 and SB457, respectively.
Introduced by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-41), AB 1019 mandates the state stop all new investments and precludes renewal of existing investments issued or owned by Turkey using the full force of the California government to pressure Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide and take steps towards justice to its victims.
Introduced by Senators Anthony Portantino (D-25) and Scott Wilk (R-21), SB 457 is a measure that requires the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and the State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS) Boards of Administration to allow school districts and cities to opt out of investment vehicles issued or owned by the Republic of Turkey. Legislators who have signed on as co-authors of SB 457 include Senator Bob Archuleta (D-32) and Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-08).
As part of ongoing government outreach efforts, the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors, Staff, and local chapter representatives had earlier held productive meetings with Assemblymember Holden, Senator Portantino, and Senator Wilk.
“The ANCA Western Region is grateful to Assemblymember Holden, Senator Portantino, and Senator Wilk for introducing these bills, both of which send a strong message in line with Congress’ 2019 pronouncement of US policy rejecting efforts to engage the United States in Turkey’s ongoing denialist campaign,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq. “At a time when Turkey has revealed its continued genocidal policies through its support of Azerbaijan’s recent aggression against Armenia and Artsakh, including its own provision of foreign mercenaries to attack innocent Armenian civilians and ethnically cleanse the Armenian presence from our ancestral Homeland, these bills seek to hold Turkey accountable for its past and present crimes. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that these bills are passed and signed into law so that California’s taxpayer and pension funds are not used by Turkey to advance its genocide denial agenda.”
Current California law established by AB1320 (in 2019), can impose economic sanctions against Turkey for not recognizing its responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, but only upon passage of federal sanctions imposed specifically for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Since passage of AB1320 the United States Government has taken significant action against Turkey. At the end of 2019 the United States Congress formally recognized the Armenian Genocide (H.Res.296 and S.Res.150) with overwhelming bipartisan support. In 2020, the Executive Branch imposed sanctions on Turkey over a multibillion-dollar acquisition of a Russian missile system under the “CAATSA – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.”
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential nonpartisan Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues in pursuit of the Armenian Cause.