Turkish Divestment Bill One Vote From California Governor’s Desk

SACRAMENTO, CA –AB 1597, the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act passed the California State Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of seven to zero. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

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 recognition for 1.5 million Armenians killed.

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

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.

California is home to largest Armenian American population in the United States. AB 1597 will now be debated and voted on by the full California State Senate.

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