Press Release Regarding The H.r. 4347 Adopted On 26th June 2014 By The House Committee On Foreign Affairs

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 27.06.2014

No: 214, 27 June 2014

The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted by a majority vote a draft bill (H.R.4347) yesterday that contains groundless criticism, false information and baseless accusations on the situation of Christian heritage in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

As has been well documented, by virtue of the reform process that has been ongoing for more than a decade, hundreds of properties, belonging to non-Muslim religious foundations which have made the necessary applications, have been returned and many others have been duly compensated. Within the context of this process, many historical non-Muslim places of worship have been restored by Turkish authorities and inaugurated for religious services.

While the clear and concrete steps that Turkey has taken for the improvement of the rights and freedoms of all of its citizens, including for the non-Muslim minorities are evident; attempts by anti-Turkish circles in the US Congress, driven by domestic political considerations, to push such unconstructive and baseless initiatives are unacceptable. That these circles have focused on the heritage of a single religion, and have neglected negative developments occurring at the expense of other religions and their heritage is inconsistent with universal values and contrasts starkly with the multi-culturality of the United States.

Apart from being null and void as far as Turkey is concerned, such initiatives are also incongruous with the existing spirit of partnership and alliance that we enjoy with the United States, with whom we aim to be in even closer cooperation and solidarity, especially in confronting the regional and global challenges we are faced with.

Those within the US Congress who lead such irresponsible acts and their supporters damage not only the Turkey-US bilateral relationship but also their own country’s interests. It is our strong expectation from the US Administration to pronounce a clear position on this irresponsible act which runs counter to our bonds of alliance. Similarly, we expect from all those who value the Turkish-US relationship to not remain silent.

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