Turkish Divestment bill passes California Senate Judiciary Panel

Asbarez – AB 1597, the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act, continues to gain unprecedented momentum, on Monday passing the Senate Public Employment & Retirement Committee by a vote of 4 to 0 with one abstention, and on Tuesday passing the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 5 to 0 with two abstentions.

California has a long history of divesting from countries that violate human rights, South Africa (apartheid policy), Sudan (Darfur genocide), and Iran (international terrorism, human rights violations.) A divestment from Turkish bonds over Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, the continued funding of a campaign of genocide denial, and the recent erosion of democratic principles would send a clear message that California, the 5th largest economy in the world, demands justice and recognition for 1.5 million Armenians killed.

“California is sending a clear message to Turkey to stop their deceitful campaign of genocide denial,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian.

“The ANCA-Western Region looks forward to seeing California’s investment policy come into alignment with its unequivocal policy calling for justice for the Armenian Genocide, and we will continue to do all we can to achieve this goal,” said Nora Hovsepian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.

AB 1597 requires the California Public Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to liquidate all investments issued, owned, controlled, or managed by the government of Turkey within six months of the passage of federal sanctions on Turkey for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

This bill also requires the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS to submit reports to the Legislature and the Governor, within a year of when the federal government issues sanctions against Turkey. The report will detail a list of investments that they have already liquidated and a list of investments that potentially can be liquidated.

AB 1597 will now be debated and voted on by Senate Appropriations.

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