Bill chiding Turkey passed with 2 votes
The US House of Representatives passes a bill with only two votes.The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill calling on Turkey “to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties.”
The legislation passed with only two votes. The rest were absent.
“The bill, House Resolution 306, is unfair, unjustified and uncalled for. Yet the House approved it. Who benefits when Congress acts at the expense of its allies?” said Turkish Ambassador to Washington Namık Tan via his Twitter account yesterday.
“We are disappointed by the approval of this text, which does not reflect will of the Parliament as could be seen on the process of vote,” a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
Congressmen Howard Berman and Edward Royce first introduced the bill in June to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as the “Return of Churches.” The bill urges the U.S. Secretary of State to raise issues with Turkish officials related to Christian heritage in Turkey, such as returning church properties to Christian foundations. The bill, however, is non-binding.
Adam Schiff, Frank Pallone, Eliot Engel and Brad Sherman gave speeches supporting the bill. Ed Whitfield, founder of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey and Turkish Americans, spoke against the bill. Only a number of representatives were present during voting on the bill, and the legislation passed with the votes of Sherman and Engel.