Turkish Divestment Bill Passes California Senate Judiciary Committee

Asbarez – AB 1320, the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act, passed the critical California Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 8-0-1. Last year, the State Senate and Assembly passed the Divestment from Turkish Bonds Act but the bill was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown.

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 internationally that California, the fifth largest economy in the world, demands justice 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.

AB 1320 prohibits the boards of the California Public Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) from making additional or new investments, or renewing existing investments issued, owned, controlled, or managed by the government of Turkey after federal sanctions are imposed on Turkey.

“The ANCA-WR initiated this legislative movement several years ago after the Armenian Youth Federation and All-ASA student campaign successfully passed it on all nine University of California campuses in order to bring California’s fiscal policy in line with its strong position on human rights and the Armenian Genocide, and together we will continue to work diligently to secure divestment of public funds from the Turkish government through all possible avenues,” said Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Chairwoman Nora Hovsepian.

“We look forward to successful passage in the Senate and to its signing by Governor Newsom in the near future,” she added.

The boards shall liquidate investments only upon action taken by the federal government. More specifically, CalPERS and CalSTRS must liquidate any of the investments described above within six months of the passage of federal sanctions on Turkey.

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 1320 will now be debated in the California State Senate Appropriations Committee.

Adrin Nazarian represents the 46th Assembly District, serving the San Fernando Valley communities of Hollywood Hills, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Universal City, Van Nuys, and Valley Village.

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