WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) collaborated with members of Congress regarding the introduction of two pieces of bi-partisan legislation: H.R.3056 (To oppose violations of religious freedom in Turkey by the Government of Turkey and to safeguard the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) and H.Res.376 (Condemning Turkey for its illegal occupation of Cyprus and encouraging President Biden to make the resolution of the Cyprus problem a top foreign policy priority).
“The United States must hold Turkey accountable for its egregious violations of the rule of law within Turkey, and abroad,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “The failure to hold Turkey to account will simply embolden its rogue and provocative actions.”
Larigakis added, “AHI congratulates the sponsors of each of the bills, especially respective bill leaders Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and the Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). We urge the swift passage of both H.R.3056 & H.Res.376.”
AHI urges Greek-Americans to contact their legislators, identify yourself as a constituent, and ask to speak with the legislator’s legislative director or foreign affairs legislative assistant.
U.S. House of Representatives
HR 3056 was introduced by Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). Original co-sponsors include Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Dina Titus (D-NV), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).
H. Res. 376 was introduced by U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY). Original co-sponsors include Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chis Pappas (D-NH), and Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV).
Why Is This Legislation Important?
According to AHI, “A strong message must be sent to Turkey by the Congress, in light of the conversion of the Hagia Sophia and Turkey’s advocacy of an illegal two-state solution regarding Cyprus, that Turkey cannot continue to violate international law, U.S. law, and the rule of law without consequence. Turkey’s actions are contrary to both United States’ values and interests.”
What Will the Legislation Do?
H.R. 3056, according to AHI, “Encourage the Administration to put Turkey on the Special Watch List, a designation that indicates that a country tolerates significant violations of religious freedom. This would be an important step in holding Turkey accountable, and in line with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommendation to include Turkey on the Special Watch List.
Mandate that the President of the United States, should the Administration fail to include Turkey on the Special Watch list, submit a report to Congress justifying its decision to not include Turkey on the watch list.
Within 90 days of the passage of the Act, the Secretary of State will be required to submit a report to Congress on the State Department’s policy and planned efforts to promote religious freedom in Turkey.”
H.Res.376, according to AHI, will: “Encourage the Administration to make Cyprus a top foreign-policy priority.
Demand that Turkey remove all of its illegal troops from the occupied area of Cyprus.
Call upon Turkey to adhere to NATO principles and values.
Insist that the settlement of the Cyprus problem needs to be based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, in a state with single sovereignty and 12 international personality, and that such an entity should embrace constitutional and democratic norms.
Demand that Turkey cease and desist from its illegal violations of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Call upon the Turkish government to provide financial restitution to American citizens for their property losses in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
Demand that Turkey cooperate in helping recover the four American citizens who are still missing as a result of the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.
Call upon Turkey to remove its over 200,000 illegal settlers from Turkish-occupied Cyprus and assist in repatriating Greek-Cypriot refugees to their ancestral homes.”
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