Turkey calls on Obama to veto ‘9/11 bill’
AP photoThe Turkish Foreign Ministry on Sept. 23 called for U.S. President Barack Obama to prevent the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” from becoming law, saying it contradicts international law and the principles of the U.N. Charter, particularly regarding the sovereignty and equality of states.
The controversial bill, also known as the “9/11 bill,” would allow U.S. courts to hold foreign governments responsible it they were found to have played a role in funding or assisting attacks.
The bill aims to narrow the scope of the legal doctrine of foreign sovereign immunity and passed the U.S. Senate with no opposition in May before unanimously passing the House of Representatives in September. While it does not mention the 9/11 attacks or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the practical effect of the bill will be to allow a longstanding federal civil lawsuit against Saudi Arabia by the victims, families and other interests that were injured or damaged in the 9/11 attacks to proceed.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry stressed that Ankara continued to stand with the victims of terrorism and firmly argued that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations should be countered “without double standards and discrimination.”
“In this context, Turkey calls upon the president of the United States to prevent the bill from becoming law and invites all its allies and partners to take insightful and useful steps with a view to enhancing international cooperation and solidarity,” said the statement.
In its capacity as the chair of the Summit of the Organization of Islamic States (OIC), the Foreign Ministry particularly drew attention to the OIC on this matter.
Approached by the Hürriyet Daily News, Foreign Ministry officials recalled an OIC statement which warned passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would “disrupt international relations, threatens to plunge the world economy into a depression, weakens the necessary alliances that promote peace and security around the world and compromises the war on terrorism.”
“If the ‘9/11 bill’ was to become law, it would remove the benefits of centuries-old laws and international norms that promote the comity of nations and plunge the world, one nation or region at a time, into chaos as each nation could pass reciprocal laws in retaliation that would weaken the protections that sovereignty and presumption against extraterritoriality legally provides to all people, of all nations,” the OIC Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani earlier said in a written statement.
The Obama Administration objects against the bill saying, if passed, it could destroy their alliance with Saudi Arabia. The White House has said the bill could expose Americans overseas to legal risks.