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 Thursday, December 12 2019 12:55
Marianna Mkrtchyan

ANCA welcomes Senate Foreign Relations Committee Turkey sanctions  vote

ANCA welcomes Senate Foreign Relations Committee Turkey sanctions  vote

ArmInfo. With a vote of 18-4, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today adopted S.2641, a powerful, bipartisan Turkey sanctions bill spearheaded by Chairman  Risch (R-ID) and Ranking Democrat Robert Menendez (D-NJ), reported  the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

"Today's overwhelming Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote to  sanction Turkey - much like the near-unanimous U.S. House vote  adopting the Armenian Genocide Resolution - speaks to just how ready  Senators - left, right, and center - are ready to do the right thing  and override Ankara's veto against honest American remembrance of  Turkey's World War I-era mass murder of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians,  Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians," said  ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "With Christmas around the  corner, it would certainly hold special meaning for the Senate to end  this year with a fitting tribute to the Christian martyrs of this  crime against all humanity." The ANCA has been working closing with  the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and a coalition of  groups in support of a broad range of Senate and House Turkey  sanctions measures.  On October 29th, in addition to near-unanimous  passage H.Res.296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the U.S. House  also overwhelmingly adopted a Turkey sanctions measure (H.R.4695),  led by House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel (D-NY) and  Ranking Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX).

"Turkey's actions over the past year are truly beyond the pale,"  tweeted Senator Menendez, following Committee passage of the measure.   "This bill makes clear to Turkey that its behavior with respect to  Syria is unacceptable, and its purchase of the S400 system is  untenable." The sanctions bill affirms that: "Turkey's military  invasion of Northeast Syria is an unacceptable and unnecessary  escalation of tensions with the potential to cause a severe  humanitarian crisis and undo the collective gains made in the fight  against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by the United  States and the 81 countries and organizations of the Global Coalition  to Defeat ISIS, including NATO and the European Union (EU).  It also  underscores that:  "targeted sanctions against Turkey are an  appropriate response in order for Turkey to be held accountable for  its military offensive in Northeast Syria." S.2641 calls for  restrictions on U.S. arms sales to Turkey which may be used in its  offensive in northern Syria, and requires U.S.  opposition to loans  to Turkey from international financial institutions.

The measure also calls for the enforcement of the Countering  America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against Turkey  over its recent purchase of Russian S-400 air and missile defense  systems.  During Committee consideration of the measure, Senator Rand  Paul (R-KS) initially blocked consideration of the measure, but later  withdrew his opposition, allowing the measure to pass by the  overwhelming bi-partisan margin.  During his remarks in support of  the Turkey sanctions measure, Sen.  Menendez also called for passage  of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.150), noting that the U.S.   should stop being intimidated by Turkey.  Sen.  Menendez, who along  with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the charge for Senate passage of  the Armenian Genocide resolution, pledged last week to issue a call  for "unanimous consent" for S.Res.150 on a weekly basis until the  measure is adopted. 

"I just want my colleagues to know that I intend to come once a week  to the Senate floor, and all those who want to be listed on the wrong  side of history, they have the option of doing so," vowed Menendez.   "I'm not going to cease until we do what is morally and principally  right-and that is recognize the Armenian Genocide, as a host of other  nations have, as well." 

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