Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge), Chair of the Senate Select Committee on California, Armenia and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange, introduced Senate Resolution 29 on Monday designating the month of April for commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
The Resolution also calls on the Republic of Turkey to return confiscated church properties to their rightful congregations, Asbarez reports.
April 2017 will mark the 102nd commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which began in 1915. More than 1.5 million Armenians were persecuted and massacred by the Ottoman Turks in the first genocide of the 20th century. California has long and proudly recognized the Armenian Genocide. This is the first legislative resolution to declare April as a month of Armenian Genocide commemoration and also call for the immediate restoration of church properties under Turkey’s control.
In addition to genocide denial, religious discrimination and intolerance remain serious issues in the current Republic of Turkey. Discriminatory laws are still used to justify the confiscation of church property and prevent free worship. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom noted in its 2011 report that the Turkish government continues to impose serious limitations on freedom of religion or belief, thereby threatening the continued vitality and survival of minority religious communities in Turkey.