ANCA: URGE U.S. HOUSE VOTE ON THE TURKEY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (H.R. 4347)
ANCA: URGE U.S. HOUSE VOTE ON THE TURKEY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (H.R. 4347) –
Armenian Church and zhamatun of the Monastery of Surb Hovhannes (Saint John), on Ktuts Island (Turkish Çarpanak Adasi) in Lake Van, Armenian province of Vaspurikan, (15th Century).
(ANCA) Call the House Leadership Today!
Please take 2 minutes to urge the leadership of the U.S. House to promote religious freedom by allowing a vote on H.R.4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act.
Call Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McCarthy now. A simple phone script and answers to the most common questions regarding the resolution are provided below.
Speaker John Boehner:
(Dial 1 for legislative issues)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
SAMPLE PHONE SCRIPT:
[Your call will be answered by a receptionist, who will take down your message.]
Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [CITY/TOWN, STATE].
I am calling to ask for a floor vote for H.R.4347.
This religious freedom legislation protects Christians in Turkey from persecution.
Please urge Turkey to return stolen holy sites and allow Christians to pray in their houses of worship.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT H.R.4347
WHAT IS H.R.4347?
H.R.4347 is a bipartisan religious freedom bill that calls upon the Administration to report annually to Congress about Turkey’s progress in returning stolen Christian properties.
H.R.4347 represents a principled and practical American stand for the right of Christians in present-day Turkey to practice their faith in their own houses of worship.
WHO SUPPORTS H.R.4347?
H.R.4347 enjoys broad bipartisan support
It was introduced by Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On June 26th, after an extensive mark-up, it was overwhelmingly adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee. It builds upon H.Res.306, which was adopted by the House of Representatives on December 13, 2011.
H.R.4347 is consistent with the spirit of recent public statements by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Kerry calling for Turkey to restore religious properties.
WHO OPPOSES H.R.4347?
The Turkish Embassy has essentially been alone in aggressively attacking H.R.4347, reflecting newly elected Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s growing intolerance and discrimination toward Christians, Jews, and other ethnic and religious minorities.
During the June 26th mark-up of H.R.4347 only two Committee members voiced reservations. Notably, the Committee overwhelmingly rejected an unfriendly amendment to weaken this religious freedom measure, but even this amendment supported the basic premise that the Turkey needs to do more to return Christian churches and other properties.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR H.R.4347?
This bipartisan legislation has been approved at the Committee level and is awaiting a decision by the House leadership to bring it to the floor for an up-or-down vote.
WHY IS H.R.4347 NEEDED?
Congressional leadership is urgently needed to stop this destruction and secure the return of stolen Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and other church properties, in Turkey and the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.
With the passing of every year, act of desecration and official disregard further erase the once rich Christian religious heritage within Turkey’s borders.
The timely adoption of H.R.4347 is needed to help communicate the depth of America’s commitment to religious freedom to the newly elected President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, who won office, in large part, by fostering domestic intolerance, flaunting his challenge to U.S. regional interests, and undermining the security our regional allies.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of Ottoman Turkey’s genocide against its Christian minorities, the U.S. Congress should take meaningful steps to defend the rights of the remaining Christians in Turkey.
WILL H.R.4347 CHANGE U.S. POLICY?
This legislation does not call for any change to official policy or impose any sanctions. It simply calls for the Administration to provide Congress with reliable information.
HASN’T TURKEY RETURNED CHURCHES?
The language of H.R.4347 does note that the Turkish government has made efforts in recent years to return a few church properties, but clearly much more than these few token acts are needed, since the vast majority of Christian holy sites continue to be held by the Turkish Government or by third parties.