U.S. Representatives Set To Introduce Resolutions Pressing Turkey To


Noyan Tapan


Noyan Tapan – 15.06.2011) WASHINGTON, DC ~V A bipartisan group of U.S.
legislators are set to introduce two resolutions in support of a
truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, including
a new measure specifically pressing Turkey to fully respect the
rights of Christians to practice their faith in freedom, including
through the rightful return of confiscated churches to Armenians,
Greeks, Assyrians, Pontians, Arameans (Syriacs) and other Christians
communities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America

The Return of Churches resolution, spearheaded by senior House Foreign
Affairs Committee member Ed Royce (R-CA) and the panel’s Ranking
Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), calls upon the government of Turkey
to honor its international obligations end all forms of religious
persecution and to protect the rights and religious freedoms of
Christians. The measure specifically calls upon Turkey to return
confiscated Christian church properties.

The Armenian Genocide Resolution, introduced by Congressmen Robert
Dold (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), calls upon the President to
recognize the Armenian Genocide and encourages the U.S. government to
apply the lessons of this tragedy to prevent future crimes against
humanity. This measure, identical to H.Res.252 during the previous
session of Congress, has been adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee
four times over the past eleven years, but has yet to reach the floor
for an up-or-down vote of the full U.S. House of Representatives.

“We want to thank Congressmen Royce, Berman, Dold, and Schiff for
their leadership in working toward a truthful and just resolution of
the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.

Commenting specifically on the measure safeguarding Christian heritage
introduced by Reps. Royce and Berman, Hachikian noted: “The Christian
rights legislation reflects and reaffirms the long and proud history
of principled leadership by the U.S. Congress in protecting religious
freedom abroad – for Christians and for peoples of all faiths. In
calling upon Turkey to end restrictions on freedom of worship and
restore the rights of Christians to their stolen places of worship,
the Congress will, with the full moral authority of the American
people, add its voice to the international effort to morally defend
and materially protect the rights and religious freedoms of Christians
inside Turkey’s present-day borders.” This religious freedom measure
represents an effort to highlight, confront, and eventually reverse
decades of official Turkish policy of destroying Christian church
properties, desecrating holy sites, discriminating against Christian
communities, and denying of the right of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians,
Chaldeans, Pontians, Arameans (Syriacs), and others to practice
their faith in freedom. The measure is consistent with many other
resolutions adopted by the U.S. House over the past several decades
defending religious freedom and protecting sacred sites and places of
worship, as well as with the International Religious Freedom Act of
1998 and America’s longstanding leadership in supporting the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

Reps. Royce and Berman Speak out on Turkey’s Confiscation of Churches;
Crackdown on Religious Freedom:

Return of Churches resolution lead sponsors Reps. Ed Royce and Howard
Berman speak out on the importance of immediate action to address
Turkey’s repression of its religious minorities and the confiscation
of churches.

“Conditions in Turkey have deteriorated with violent hate crimes
increasingly linked to religion,” explained Rep. Royce. “My resolution
urges Turkey to protect its vulnerable religious minorities. They
should be able to freely practice, worship and study their faith
without fear of discrimination or violence. We expect Turkey to make
good on its obligation to provide this protection.”

Rep. Berman concurred, noting, “By expropriating church properties,
harassing worshippers, and refusing to grant full legal status to
some Christian groups, Turkey has failed to fulfill its obligation
as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which
requires ‘freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.’ Turkey must
end its deeply disturbing practice of religious discrimination, cease
all restrictions on gatherings for religious prayer and education,
and return stolen church property.”

Reps. Dold and Schiff Speak Out on the Imperative of U.S Affirmation
of the Armenian Genocide:

“The United States has a duty to remember those who have no voice,”
explained Rep. Dold upon introduction of the Armenian Genocide
Resolution. “Ninety-six years ago 1.5 million people were killed
simply because they were Armenian. I’ve personally heard stories
from Armenian-Americans in my district who lost loved ones during
the Armenian genocide. This appalling tragedy should not be ignored;
rather, as a nation that fights for justice it is only fitting that
the United States honestly recognize the Armenian Genocide and the
victims so that together we can help prevent future genocides.”

“The facts of history are clear, well documented and non-negotiable
~V 1.5 million Armenians were deliberately murdered in the first
genocide of the 20th century,” explained Rep. Schiff. “If we are
to prevent future atrocities, we must condemn genocide whenever and
wherever it occurs. It has never served our national interest to be
complicit in another nation’s campaign of genocide denial, and it never
will. While there are still some survivors left, we have a compelling,
urgent and moral obligation to speak plainly about the past.”

The territory of present-day Turkey, home to many of the most
important centers of early Christianity – most notably Nicaea,
Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople – contains, to this day, a
rich legacy of Christian heritage, including thousands of religious
sites and properties.

Sources on Capitol Hill report that both measures are supported by
a broad bi-partisan group of original cosponsors.

To learn more about the Return of Christian Churches Resolution
and to ask your U.S. Representatives to cosponsor this measure,

To learn more about the Armenian Genocide Resolution and to ask your
U.S. Representatives to cosponsor this genocide prevention measure,


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