Saturday, June 14, 2014

Committee Vote on Turkey Christian Churches Scheduled

 The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), is set to consider H.R. 4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act, on Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00 am EST. Capitol Hill sources report that the Turkish Government is actively seeking to block adoption of this bipartisan religious freedom measure.

Introduced this March of this year by Chairman Royce along with the panel’s Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), H.R. 4347 would require that the U.S. Department of State formally report to Congress on an annual basis about the status of Turkey’s return of stolen Christian churches and properties in Turkey and occupied Cyprus. H.R. 4347 builds on a measure (H.Res.306), spearheaded by Chairman Royce and then House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), which was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives on December 13, 2011. That resolution set the groundwork for H.R.4347 by calling upon the government of Turkey to honor its international obligations to return confiscated Christian church properties and to fully respect the rights of Christians to practice their faiths.

“We want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for advancing this religious freedom legislation and look forward to the Committee’s consideration of a principled and practical American stand in support of the rights of Christians in present-day Turkey and occupied Cyprus to practice their faith in their own houses of worship,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “We are pleased to join with all believers in religious freedom – including of course our Cypriot, Greek, Pontian and Syriac brothers and sisters – in supporting this measure, and encourage all our friends to urge their legislators to support its timely passage by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the full House of Representatives.”

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