Landmark Turkish Government Divestment Bill Passes Assembly and Heads to Governor’s Desk for Approval

SACRAMENTO, CA — On Friday, August 31st, AB 1597m the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act, passed the California State Assembly. “I am humbled and grateful for my colleagues in the Legislature for joining with me to fight for justice for the 1.5 million Armenian souls who perished in the Genocide,” sated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, “If Turkey continues to fund Armenian Genocide deniers they must be financially punished.”

AB 1597 prohibits the boards of the California Public Retirement system (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement system (CalSTRS) from making additional or new investments issued, owned, controlled, or managed by the government of Turkey, when the United States government of Turkey for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

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.

The bill also requires the bonds 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 the largest Armenian-American population in the United States. AB 1597 will now head to Governor Jerry Brown for signing.

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