Senators Introduce Bill Demanding Turkey End Unjust Detention of US Citizens
Legislation Requires U.S. to Reject International Loans to Turkey Until Campaign of Harassment and Detention Ends
WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation with Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), James Lankford (R-OK), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) to restrict loans from international financial institutions to Turkey until the Turkish government ends the unjust detention of U.S. citizens. In 2016, Turkey imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson and indicted him on unsubstantiated charges earlier this year. A Turkish court ruled Thursday that Brunson will remain in custody until the next hearing on his case in October. In April, the senators led a bipartisan group of 66 senators in a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanding Brunson’s release. Other U.S. citizens, locally employed staff of the U.S. embassy, and tens of thousands of Turkish citizens still face unacceptable harassment and human rights violations by the Government of Turkey.
“Erdogan continues to undermine Turkey’s democracy, crack down on journalists and violate human rights. And he continues to hold Pastor Brunson on completely baseless charges. This thuggish behavior must not go unchecked,” said Senator Nelson.
The Turkey International Financial Institutions Act directs the U.S. executive of the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to oppose future loans, except for humanitarian purposes, to Turkey by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and EBRD until the administration can certify to Congress that Turkey is “no longer arbitrarily detaining or denying freedom of movement to United States citizens (including dual citizens) or locally employed staff members of the United States mission to Turkey.”
Turkey relies heavily on loans from both the IFC and EBRD. In 2017, Turkey ranked second among all IFC recipients with $927 million in new long-term commitments. Turkey was the largest EBRD borrower in 2017, securing about $1.8 billion in new commitments.
Text of the legislation is available here.