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Councilman Introduces Resolution Requiring Divestment of CA Pension Funds from Turkish Government

A resolution supporting an Assembly bill that would require the divestment of California’s public pension funds from Turkish government assets was introduced Wednesday by Councilman Paul Krekorian.

Assembly Bill 1597 would require CalPERS and CalSTERS to liquidate its Turkish investments, which total several hundred million dollars, in response to what Krekorian called the Turkish government’s “genocidal denial.”

Krekorian, the council’s first Armenian-American member, has been a critic of Turkey, in part due to its refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide, where historians say over 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire around 1915.

The American government and the Turkish government will not recognize the killings as genocide.

The resolution also mentions a violent clash in Washington, D.C. on May 16 involving security officers for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.

“This violent assault targeting peaceful, law-abiding Americans was a grotesque affront to American values by the thuggish agents of an autocratic Turkish regime,” Krekorian said in May after the D.C. incident.

“Such criminal conduct would be entirely intolerable under any circumstances, but especially in a democratic society such as ours. The fact that it actually involved the Turkish president’s own security personnel clearly demonstrates that the Turkish regime and its diplomatic missions hold American laws and constitutional principles in deep disdain.”

Turkish diplomats have blamed the confrontation on a security lapse by local police, while protesters and police said the security officers were unprovoked, according to The Washington Post, which reported that 11 protesters and one police officer were injured.

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