The Turkish Coalition of America strongly denounces the passage of H.Res. 306, which unfairly and hypocritically targets Turkey for alleged religious discrimination against Christian communities within its borders.
H.Res. 306 ignores the significant steps Turkey has taken, particularly in the last decade, to enhance the rights and freedoms of its religious minorities. It also disregards the fact that Turkey has a significantly better record of religious tolerance compared to other countries in its immediate region and beyond. H.Res. 306 turns a blind eye to the greatly troubling instances of religious discrimination directed against Turkish/Muslim religious and cultural heritage rights by Greece, Greek Cyprus and Armenia. For instance, despite numerous pleas by its Muslim citizens, Greece remains the only European capital without a functioning mosque. The Resolution also remains silent on the fact that there remains only one functioning mosque in Armenia, where there used to be hundreds.
No doubt, passing H.Res.306 greatly undermines the credibility of the United States as an impartial and fair defender of human rights and religious freedoms. Specifically, H.Res.306 demonstrates once again that Congress is held hostage by rabidly anti-Turkish special interests. Needless to say, this is another congressional act that greatly alienates Turkish public opinion at a time when we most direly need Turkey’s support to save American blood and treasure in the many active and brewing conflicts around the world.
Congress could have chosen to take an even-handed approach to address religious and cultural heritage issues in and around Turkey and enhance the ability of the United States to speak on them with integrity and credibility. Sadly, this opportunity was squandered with the passing of H.Res.306.