AHI Applauds Committee Passage of Amendment Calling for Turkey to Honor Obligation to Christian Heritage

WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2011) — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds today’s almost unanimous passage of an amendment by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs that urges the Government of Turkey to end religious discrimination, cease all restrictions on gatherings for religious prayer and education, and return illegally confiscated church property.

U.S. Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Howard Berman (D-CA), ranking member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, introduced the amendment as part of committee action on the State Department Authorization bill for fiscal year 2012. The amendment passed 43 to 1. The one lone vote against the measure was cast by Ron Paul (R-TX-14).

Speaking in support of the amendment, Congressman Royce referred to Turkey as being “one of the world’s top violators of religious freedom.” Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) further stated “I wish they [Turkey] would act more like an ally of the U.S.”

“We thank Congressmen Royce and Berman for spearheading this legislative initiative, and we applaud the House Foreign Affairs Committee, under the chairmanship of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for passing the resolution,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis. “We look forward to its adoption by the full House of Representatives and enactment into law as part of the State Department Authorization bill.”

The amendment was based on H.Res.306, which had 34 co-sponsors and wide bipartisan support, including the co-chairs of the Hellenic, Armenian, and Human Rights Caucuses in the House.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community. For additional information, please contact Demetra Atsaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.

(Posting date 22 October 2011)

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