American Hellenic Institute

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Urge Your U.S. Representative to Oppose Pro-Turkey Trade/Investment Bill
TO: AHI Chapter Presidents, Congressional Contact Team Leaders, Members and Friends
FROM: Nick Larigakis, AHI President
DATE: July 20, 2012
Re: CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE – URGE THEM TO OPPOSE PRO-TURKEY TRADE/INVESTMENT BILL

BACKGROUND

H.R.2362
, the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011, is a bill that authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to select up to six Indian tribes or consortia of Indian tribes to participate in an Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project that facilitates trade and financial investment in Indian tribal economies by private entities from Turkey.

  • The purpose of H.R. 2362 is to facilitate economic development by Indian tribes and encourage investment by Turkish enterprises.

The bill passed the House Committee on Natural Resources by a vote of 27 to 15 on November 17, 2011.

In addition to H.R.2362 providing preferential treatment to Turkey, a country in violation of the rule of law and with a dubious human rights and religious freedom record, H.R.2362 is unnecessary.  It is unnecessary because the House has passed H.R.205, the HEARTH Act, with overwhelming bipartisan support, 400 to 0; and its senate companion by unanimous consent on July 17, 2012. 

  • The HEARTH Act is a much stronger and clearer bill, which permits all tribes to engage in this process and does not provide preferential treatment to a specific country.


STATUS

AHI has been informed that there is a strong possibility that H.R.2362 will be brought up for a vote on the Floor of the U.S. Representatives on Monday, July 23, 2012.

  • The vote would take place under “Suspension of the Rules,” which means that 2/3 vote in the affirmative is required for passage.

ACTION

We urge you to contact your U.S. representative and request him/her to oppose H.R.2362

  • Ask to speak with the Legislative Director.
  • Advise them you are a constituent, calling from [city or town] and that you’d like the representative to oppose H.R.2362.

NOTE: Please send a copy of your correspondence, or provide notice of a phone call made, to Demetra Astaloglou at [email protected].

TALKING POINTS

We urge you to utilize any, or all, of the talking points below to help with your communication with your U.S. representative.

  • H.R. 2362, the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011, provides Turkish businesses with preferential consideration to engage in investment activities on Indian tribal lands.
  • H.R. 2362 masquerades as an effort to enhance investment on tribal lands, but that objective is being met in a far more comprehensive manner by H.R.205, the HEARTH Act.
  • The HEARTH Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 400 to 0 in May 2012 and it passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on July 17, 2012.  It will be signed into law by President Obama.
  • The HEARTH Act, reforms the process which Indian tribes can use to lease their lands for residential, business and other economic development purposes.
  • The HEARTH Act reforms the process for domestic as well as foreign companies or other entities interested in engaging in these leases with Indian tribes.
  • While the HEARTH Act may have been originally aimed at housing projects, it also authorizes leases for public, religious, educational, recreational, residential or business purposes.
  • The HEARTH Act renders H.R. 2362, the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011 unnecessary.
  • H.R. 2362 may work to undermine the HEARTH Act because it seeks to endorse and offer special consideration to one country- Turkey - over the other 154 WTO member countries.
  • H.R. 2362 could actually narrow the full reform efforts of the HEARTH Act which is not a limited demonstration project but a comprehensive reform effort for investment on Indian tribal lands. In other words where the HEARTH Act seeks to expand the full potential investment opportunity, H.R.2362 could be used to create exclusive demonstration projects.
  • H.R. 2362 singles out and endorses Turkish entities in a preferential manner at the expense of 154 other member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) who may seek to invest on Indian tribal lands.
  • The WTO prohibits member countries from discriminating between their trading partners (commonly referred to as most favored nation status).  Both the United States and Turkey are WTO members.
  • H.R. 2362's special consideration and endorsement of Turkish business interests undermines the spirit and intent of WTO rules and exposes the US to retaliatory charges and/or claims for compensation from other WTO members under international trade law.
  • H.R. 2362 endorses, sets a place of primacy and implies preferential consideration to Turkey, a country that:
    • Is openly hostile to our ally Israel, threatening the mobilization of its air and naval forces to escort ships to Gaza.
    • Challenges Israel's right to develop energy sources in its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Eastern Mediterranean.
    • Excludes Israel from military exercises and calls Hamas a resistance movement.
    • Uses its NATO membership to isolate Israel in the international community.
    • On June 9, 2010, NATO member Turkey voted against the United Nations resolution imposing sanctions against Iran to thwart its nuclear weapons program.
    • Has been designated "as a country of particular concern" by the U.S. Commission on International and Religious Freedom for its widespread discrimination and abuse of ethnic and religious minority communities.
    • Has threatened the use of force to stop Texas-based Noble Energy from drilling for oil and gas off the shores of EU member Cyprus and Israel.
    • Has declared that it will blacklist any business concerns from conducting business in Turkey that assist Cyprus and Israel in their quest to jointly develop natural resources.
    • Denies the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 during which one-and-a-half million Armenians perished, and has threatened punitive measures against the United States if such recognition where to occur in this Chamber.
    • Maintains a destabilizing economic blockade against Armenia where it has sealed its border to all trade with this landlocked country.
    • For 38-years has illegally occupied 37%  of the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union and is actively altering the heritage and demographics of the island republic by systematically destroying its Christian heritage and colonizing the occupied areas with up to 180,000 illegal colonists.

CONTACT BY TELEPHONE

  • Contact your members of Congress by telephone by dialing the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224-3121.

CONTACT BY EMAIL/INTERNET

QUESTIONS?

For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email [email protected].

THANK YOU!