Sacramento, CA, May 29, 2009 – The Turkish American Legal Defense Fund announced today that Assembly Bill (AB) 961 has been effectively held in the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee by Chairman Kevin De Leon. The bill cannot continue to the full Assembly floor for consideration without a vote from the committee.

“We are very encouraged that the California Assembly carefully reviewed the bill and adjusted their stance. I am heartened that the Assembly took the proper democratic steps,” said Bruce Fein, counsel for the TALDF.

AB 961, which supporters called the “Justice for Genocide Victims” bill, was introduced by CA Assembly Member and Assistant Majority Leader Paul Krekorian (D-Glendale/Burbank/Los Angeles) earlier in the year. Mr. Krekorian tried to convince the Assembly that the bill was intended to prevent California from doing business with companies that “do business with genocidal regimes.”

In response, the TALDF submitted two written statements and offered oral testimony. According to TALDF’s written statements, available at, “AB 961 purports to regulate public contracting. But its ulterior motive is to establish a foreign policy for the State of California, one that is decidedly anti-Turkish. Other supposedly genocidal regimes are thrown into the bill naively to disguise its Armenian American genesis and goal of stigmatizing and ostracizing Turkey and those who may do business with its people or government.”

TALDF’s statements reminded the Assembly, “President Obama has declared that Turkey and Armenia should resolve their discrepant views over their shared history in bilateral negotiations with the assistance, but not interference of the United States. AB 961 does precisely what the President has said should not be done, i.e., inject California into an issue that should be negotiated between Turkey and Armenia, and with the participation of the United States to the extent the two countries invite it.”

“I am pleased that the defeat of AB 961 can send a signal nationwide that states should not engage in foreign policy in a manner that the U.S. Constitution strictly forbids. Turkish Americans in California also provided crucial input to this complicated legislative process,” added David Saltzman, counsel for the TALDF.

About the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund

Founded in 2008, the TALDF promotes the civil rights of Turkish Americans by educating them and others regarding constitutional guarantees, especially open access to all manners to civic forum participation, politics, and free expression. The TALDF also represents before federal and state courts individuals who have suffered civil rights violations on account of their Turkish ethnicity. For more information on the TALDF, please visit


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Turkish American Legal Defense Fund - TALDF
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Phone: 202-370-1399 ext.13, Fax: 202-370-1398