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The returning of stolen Armenian and other Christian churches to their rightful owners will be an item in the agenda of House of Representatives

ICC Note:

“The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives is planning to hold a vote Wednesday on an amendment calling for Turkey to ‘return stolen Armenian and other Christian churches to their rightful owners,’” Hurriyet Daily News reports.

By Ümit Enginsoy

7/19/2011 Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News) – The powerful Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives is planning to hold a vote Wednesday on an amendment calling for Turkey to “return stolen Armenian and other Christian churches to their rightful owners.”

The committee will meet for a markup session to discuss and vote on the State Department’s “Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012;” the “return of churches” measure will likely be offered as an amendment to that authorization bill, the Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, said in a statement Tuesday.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian urged all U.S. citizens of Armenian origin to “call your U.S. representative by July 20 and urge him/her to support this powerful religious freedom measure.”

“The Turkish Embassy is working overtime to kill this resolution and erase forever even the memory of Armenians and other Christians in our ancient homelands,” Hamparian said.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington rejected the charges in a recent statement, saying, “The resolution is deeply regrettable because it unfairly distorts the facts on the ground while flatly overlooking Turkey’s efforts to promote religious freedom and tolerance.”

All known pro-Armenian lawmakers in the House, the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress, back the bill, as do some representatives sensitive to Christian-rights issues, as well as the Foreign Affairs Committee’s chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida.

“Unfortunately the ‘honeymoon’ climate between Ankara and President Barack Obama’s administration is not shared by many in Congress. This bill is evidence [of that],” said a Washington-based analyst. “If this bill passes, it may harm the U.S.-Turkish relationship.”

[Full Story]