Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
June 27 2014

US adopts bill on Christian properties in Turkey

WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency

The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs has adopted a bill on
monitoring the return of property confiscated from Christians in
Turkey and Northern Cyprus.

The Committee will put a bill before the House to provide annual
assessments on the status of, and U.S. efforts to return, property
such as churches to the former Christian owners.

Republican Committee Chairman Ed Royce and ranking Democrat Eliot
Engel introduced the bill in March. It received bipartisan support in
the committee, but was met with opposition from Democrats Gerry
Connolly and Gregory Meeks.

"It simply does not reflect the relationship the U.S. has cultivated
with Turkey, a close and trusted NATO ally," said Connolly. "Passing
this legislation will lead to a rupture in our relationship with
Turkey at a time when the preservation of our strategic alliance
should be a top priority."

If the bill is adopted, the U.S. Secretary of State will have to
report no later than 180 days later on the State Department's
engagement with Turkish authorities to return Christian properties,
and would have to do so until 2021.

In addition, all information would have to be summarized in the U.S
annual country reports on human rights. The bill is unlikely to go for
a full vote until after the summer recess.