TASCRoots Welcomes California Governor
Veto of Anti-Turkey BDS Law AB 1597

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed California Assembly Bill 1597 that sought to sanction Turkey for disagreeing with the Armenian allegation of genocide in Ottoman Anatolia 103 years ago. It is United States policy not to characterize the Armenian case as genocide, and the states of United States must abide by this foreign policy under the federal preemption doctrine. Furthermore, the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights hold that the Armenian allegation of genocide is not a proven case.

In the early stages of the opposition to AB 1597, TASCRoots, supported by Ergun Kirlikovali’s local leadership, organized a coalition of Turkish American organizations, including the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California (ATASC), ATASC-San Diego, Los Angeles Turkish American Associations (LATAA), Ventura County American Turkish Association (VATAN), Orange County Turkish American Association (OCTAA), and the Turkish American Anti-Defamation Alliance (TADA). In addition, Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF), Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), and Foreign Economic Relations Board - Turkish American Business Council (DEIK/TAIK) provided legal and technical papers in opposition. Rarely are bills that pass the Assembly reconsidered after a Governor’s veto.

TASCRoots joined a broader coalition of more than 10 pensioner organizations, such as the California Teachers Association and California Police Officers Association, that challenged AB 1597 on several grounds. First, AB 1597 is the typical Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) measure that is better known for attacking Israel’s economy. Secondly , AB 1597 sought to force the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS) and State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) from divesting from financial instruments issued by the Turkish Republic. AB 1597 would have permitted the Armenian lobby to usurp the fiduciary duties of California's pension investment authorities, who find Turkey to be a viable and profitable investment. 

According to the Institute of International Finance (IFF), the build up of debt by governments, financial sector, corporate sector, and households worldwide has brought global indebtedness to 320 percent of global GDP. The G20 are largely responsible for this debt that burdens much of the world. During the United Nations General Assembly, Turkish President Erdogan again discussed the failure of the world’s top five powers to give much needed attention to the broader economic, political, environmental and social health of the world community. Turkey constitutes 1% of global GDP and 0.6% of the MSCI Emerging Market index, which makes Turkey a favorable longterm investment for pension funds.