With a vote of 18-4, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, December 11 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.”