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Contact U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Members--Urge Them to Support H.R.4347, Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act
TO: AHI Chapter Presidents, Congressional Contact Team Leaders, Members and Friends
FROM: Nick Larigakis, AHI President
DATE: June 20, 2014
Re:

CONTACT U.S. HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEMBERS – URGE THEM TO SUPPORT H.R.4347, TURKEY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES ACCOUNTABILITY ACT; INCLUDES HALKI RESOLUTION

 

BACKGROUND

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced H.R.4347, Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act, on March 28, 2014.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has identified the Republic of Turkey as a leading violator of religious freedom, placing its Christian minorities in an especially vulnerable position. Although Turkey regards itself as a secular democracy, the restrictions placed upon its religious minorities, especially Christians, deny freedom of religious expression and practice of faith. Further by expropriation of church properties and refusing to grant full legal status to a number of Christian groups, Turkey has failed to fulfill its international obligation as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”

The bill, H.R.4347, requires “the Secretary of State to provide an annual report to Congress regarding United States Government efforts to survey and secure the return, protection, and restoration of stolen, confiscated,  or otherwise unreturned Christian properties in the Republic of Turkey and in those areas currently occupied by the Turkish military in northern Cyprus.”

H.R.4347 will be amended to include H.Res.188, which is Congressman Gus Bilirakis’s resolution calling upon Turkey to facilitate the reopening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki without condition or further delay.

STATUS

When the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee convenes this Thursday, June 26, 10:30 a.m., it will hold a mark-up of H.R.4347, which means a vote is expected on the bill by the Committee. 

ACTION

We urge you to contact members of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and ask them to support H.R.4347, as amended, which demands Turkish accountability for the return, protection, and restoration of stolen and confiscated Christian properties in Turkey and in Turkish-occupied Cyprus; and calls for the reopening of the Halki Seminary.

 

  • Ask to speak with the U.S. Representative’s Legislative Director or Foreign Affairs Legislative Assistant.
  • Urge them to support H.R.4347, as amended.
  • Ask them to support U.S. principles by taking a stand in support of the rights of Christians in present-day Turkey to practice their faith in their own houses of worship.

 

NOTE: Please send a copy of your correspondence, or provide notice of a phone call made, to Georgea Polizos at georgea@ahiworld.org.

RESOURCE: HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS LIST

As a resource, a list of the full House Foreign Affairs Committee can be found at http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/about/membership.

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

To write your representative, visit https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml to find your representative.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Review AHI’s Policy Statement on Religious Freedom in Turkey.

Read AHI’s statement on the 2014 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Report on Turkey.

QUESTIONS?

For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email georgea@ahiworld.org.

THANK YOU!