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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Requiring Sanctions on Turkey  CSPAN  October 29, 2019 7:14pm-7:51pm EDT

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nation's commitment to our veterans. that does not mean that veterans should not go into the private sector. when the care is better or specialized care is better. ht a
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services, and judiciary on h.r. 695. mr. speaker, i've described the mr. speaker i described the administration's approach to foreign affairs as fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants diplomacy but over time we've seen that the president stokes a crisis and steps in with some sort of half measure in a fail aid tempt to look like a great deal is happening. you can't be the arsonist and the fireman at the same time. the situation in syria may be the clearest example of this and the most disastrous. around two weeks ago, president trump gave turkey's president erdogan the green light to launch a military invasion of northern syria, and that's precisely what turkey did. what followed was a gruesome campaign, slaughtering our
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syrian kurdish partners who fought alongside the united states against isis. already nearly 200,000 people, including women, children, and families, have been displaced, driven from their ancestral homes, ethnic cleansing at its worst. so the deal we signed with erdogan has led directly to this ethnic cleansing in northern syria's indigenous kurdish region. it's a disgrace. these people fought with us, these people took bullets for us. these people were our loyal and faithful allies. for the united states to turn our backs on them, or to start a series of events, chain of events, which would hurt them, really is a very dark day in our country's history. as the kurds fight to survive this onslaught, they've been forced to abandon their watch over the prison holding thousands of isis fighters, over 100 of these terrorists have
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reportedly escaped. and now a situation in northeast syria is a humanitarian and national security crisis. in a region already rife with conflict, tur keys' military operation is wreaking more havoc. rather than hold cur to tee -- turkey accountable for how they've conducted this bloody campaign, president trump has given them a free pass, when the head of isis was finally killed -- a free pass. when the head of isis was finally killed, president trump unfortunately thanked the turks, thanked the turkish government that doesn't sit right with me. first the administration arranged a sham ceasefire. gave erdogan all he could have wanted. then turkey entered into an agreement with vladimir putin that sees america's influence in the region -- cedes america's influence in the region to russia, then president trump lifted sanctions on turkey once the kurds fled.
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president trump has let erdogan off scott free for heinous assault that is destabilizing the region and threatening international security. president trump and president erdogan are responsible for the catastrophe in northeast syria. they both must be held accountable. on october 16, the house passed a measure rebuking president trump for this disastrous policy. passed, i will note work overwhelming bipartisan support. now the united states needs to make -- needs to make sure that turkish president erdogan faces consequences for his behavior. and because president trump has failed to demonstrate american leadership in this regard, it's now on congress to step up and impose consequences on turkey. the pact act which is this act, underscored the devastating consequences of turkey's invasion and president trump's decision to step back and let it
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happen. it employs targeted smart sanctions to incentivize erdogan to stock his -- stop his military offensive, cease violence against kurdish communities and withdraw from syria. these sanctions are specifically designed to target the turkish officials and institutions responsible for the bloodshed in syria without senselessly hurting the turkish people. after all, it is erdogan, not the turkish people, that are response -- that is responsible for this horror. erdogan is an authoritarian thug. his rule left a glaring black mark on tur keys' historic secular democratic traditions. we need to pressure him while ramping up diplomacy in the hopes of getting turkey back on the right track as a nato ally. that's one of the goals of this measure. this bipartisan legislation also
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requires the trump administration to develop concrete strategies for combating isis, protecting syrian kurdish communities, and ensuring syrians who partnered with american forces as well as n.g.o.'s and humanitarian organizations can be safely resettled in the united states. this is a smart response to address the calamity caused by turkish forces in sir yasm it's up to congress to act, to make it clear where the american government stands. i want to thank my friend, ranking member mccaul, for working with me to introduce this legislation. i hope our colleagues will join us in supporting it. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the letter exchange will be entered in the record. the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> i yield myself such time as i may consume.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mccaul: i rise in support of h.r. 4695, protect against onflict by turkey act. he death of abu balker al-baghdadi is a major win in our counterisis campaign. i congratulate our brave special operators for a job well done. the men and women of our intelligence community and our president for a bold decision. the world is better off without this sick and deranged leader of the so-called caliphate. baghdadi still has thousands of followers committed to terrorism and while their leader's death is a huge blow, we must stay vigilant to keep them from reconstituting or carry ought attacks in the west and to our homeland. with that, we cannot allow turkey's invasion to hinder in any way our counterisis campaign. my friend, chairman eliot engel,
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and i co-authored this legislation to give the white house additional congressional support to sanction turkey for its recent actions. and the leverage to ensure turkey upholds the vital cease fire negotiated by vice president pence. in the president's own words, quote, should turkey fail to honor its 0b8 gations, including -- its obligation, including he protection of real jus and ethnic minorities, we reserve the right to reimpose crippling sanctions, end of quote. in addition, our bill ensures that our presidential waivers to provide flexibility for the administration on how almost all the sanctions are administered. this bill incentivizes turkey to comply with the cease fire. if they do not, there will be consequences in the form of crippling sanctions. turkey is also a vital nato partner. i'm hopeful they will cease
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their destabilizing actions and act as a responsible partner. with that in mind, let's recap how we got here today. on october 9, erdogan's forces charged across the border, unleashing a potential humanitarian crisis for the people in northern syria. the assault has ex-panned assad and putin's grip on syrian territory and as i said two weeks ago, i'm concerned that this incursion will damage u.s. interests in the middle east and the syrian people including the kurds, our allies. the only beneficiaries of more violence and more chaos in syria are america's adversaries and that is vladimir putin, -assad, iran, and terror groups like isis. on october 17, the administration brokered a cease fire with turkey which has held to date.
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this has helped to stabilize the situation and prevented a worst case scenario from taking place. i applaud the vice president and secretary pompeo for that dell cant negotiation with president erdogan and believe that our bipartisan resolution which disapproved the turkish incursion last week, i believe, helped in these negotiations. our bill today, my bill with mr. engel, codifies the administration's agreement in anca rar and will help -- in ankara, and will help ensure turkey upholds its commitments. our bill imposes sanctions on turkey if they continue their offense nive northern sir yasm it sanctions turkish officials involved in military operations in syria. it blocks u.s. weapons sales to turkey that could be used in syria. and sanctions foreign entities
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selling such weapons to turkey. and it sanctions banks supporting tur keys' defense sector in the syria campaign. our dill also -- our bill also requires the administration to develop plans to adjust our counterterrorism strategy to respond to the changing situation on the ground. i am pleased that the administration heard our call for a residual force in syria. i can think of nothing more dangerous than withdrawing all of our troops from syria as we -- syria. as we saw when we with drew under the previous adfrrgs -- from iraq with 10,000 force, that's when we sue -- saw the rise of ius sis and the ho -- and the so-called caliphate. we'll have a residual force in syria, working to help defeat and make sure isis is never again a threat to the homeland. finally, it identified turkey's purchase of the russian s-400 system as a transaction subject
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to sanctions under the counting america's adversaries through sanctions act, caatsa. how can you be a nato ally and purchase russian military equipment? we let turkey into nato to protect phlegm the soviet union and now our nato ally is buying russian equipment. russian military equipment. through its invasion into syria, threatening our allies. for these reasons, i urge support of this bill and once again want to thank chairman engel for once again coming to a bipartisan resolution when once again they said it couldn't be done, mr. chairman, we got it done. i thank you for that. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i thank the ranking
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member for his kind words. i now yield three minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized. ms. jackson lee: i again rise with appreciation for the chairman of this committee and the ranking member of this committee and echo the importance of this bipartisan resolution. i'd like us to go down memory lane, for those of us who had the privilege obeing here, mr. engel, we're reminded of a secular turkey, a turkey where all were welcomed. we remember visiting some of the beautiful and wonderful treasures of turkey as we met with government officials and heard them reinforce their commitment to democracy, the idea of freedom of religion. and that is appropriate for a 70-year member of nato.
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we're very grateful for their commitment to nato. there are many who continue to advocate for turkey's presence in nato. so that nato could be comprehensive and unique. but we find ourselves now in the grips of a single-minded individual. who does not see the beauty of democracy, does not see the beauty of diversity and the welcoming of those from many places to turkey or the orderly process and the role, the strong role they can play in the middle east. yet, on a midnight call or late night call on a sunday night, speaking to this administration, the turkish president didn't consult or maybe offer options, but what we have gleaned from the media is that they said, we are coming into syria. in the midst of them coming into syria, they created a humanitarian crisis, fleeing women and children, destroying homes, taking people away from their homeland, and just doing
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havoc. there must be order in the world and respect and dignity, and a respect for the sanctity of life. i am glad to rise for this -- in support of this legislation. to target turkey for sanctions will not be lifted until turkey withdraws from northern syria and the bill requires concrete strategy from the administration from combating isis, protecting syrian and kurdish communities and anage soifs human rights violations committed by turkish forces as well as the refugee program that gos with my earlier designation that this is a humanitarian crisis, response to the needs of the people. this is not an act of war. this is the -- this is to seek peace. this bill freezes assets and imposes a mandatory visa ban against senior officials of turkey, including the minister of national defense who apparently would not listen. the act prohibits all arms
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transfers turkey could use in syria, bloodshed against the people, not peace. finally the act imposes targeted sanctions on a turkish bank with ties to president erdogan. we don't wish to be around the -- we might have been on the verge of being around the diplomatic table to resolve these issues. there was a calmness on the northern border. we had a certain number of troops, great opportunities remained before turkey but unwise and unilateral decisions were made. part of that was a withdrawing of our armed forces from northern syria. but i think it is clear to those of us who do want peace that there was a way of doing it. these sanctions should send a strong message to syria that we re one, recognizing the kurds. mr. engel: i yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentlewoman.
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ms. jackson lee: i thank the gentleman. a strong message to syria that one, we in the united states congress take seriously the intrusion of turkey into the kurdish area. it should send a strong message to president erdogan to recognize that he cannot bully his way through in the region. it should also send a strong message to iran and russia and to our isis foes that america is serious about peace, but doing it in the manner that provides a safe -- as safe a pathway for peace as possible. i would hope and would have wanted the decision that the president made on a phone call never to have occurred. it did occur. unnrnlt -- unfortunately president erdogan was a partner in this and we must make a very strong statement that the united states will not stand for this kind of bullying and that we will ensure that we will find peace, but in the right way. with that, i support h.r. 4695,
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nd i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i am preeced to yield two minutes to -- pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. bilirakis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. bilirakis: thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. congratulations, again, chairman engel and ranking member mc caller:, for this very important -- mccaul, for this very important turkey sanctions bill. you know, mr. speaker, for nearly 13 years i've felt like i've been one of the lone voices in the wilderness, decrying the actions of turkey as it systemically denies its citizens basic human rights, by invading and occupying an e.u. country, the republic of cyprus, stripping religious minorities of their religious freedom, persecuting journalists and academics for writing about the
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armenian genocide, invading and provoking hostilities on a daily basis in the eastern mediterranean. as co-chair of the international religious freedom caucus, i'm especially grateful for this pact act, calling for the administration to outline how it will assist religious and ethnic minorities affected by war crimes perpetrated by prime minister erdogan. additionally, in my role as co-chair of the caucus, i have called for the administration to halt the delivery of f-35's to turkey, giving its purchase of russia's defense missile system. i'm pleased this bill goes further and imposes 231 sanctions for turkey's intransigence. i urge support of this legislation so that we can send a unified bipartisan message to turkey, that if you want to become considered a strategic
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ally of the united states, a true ally, you have to act like one. and i want to, again, thank the chairman and the ranking member and the entire foreign affairs committee for bringing up this very important bill. thank you, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield three minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. hurd. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. hurd: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend from texas for yielding. i'm proud to rise today in support of the bipartisan pact act, to hold turkey accountable for its destabilizing and dangerous decision to invade northern syria and attack america as he kurdish allies -- america's kurdish allies. after fighting side by side,
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syrian kurds are now being under siege and fleeing their homes. according to the united nations, over 180,000 people have been displaced, including 80,000 children. many are fleeing to the kurdish region of iraq, which already hosts over 200,000 refugees from the syrian civil war. turkey's reckless actions have created a humanitarian crisis that will strain our partners in the region and provide cispa with an opportunity to -- isis as an opportunity to reemerge as a threat to the united states. the international community must come together to provide assistance to kurds and refugees in both syria and iraq. the u.s. special envoy to syria also told congress last week that there have been several incidents of war crimes committed, including the use of whites for forous, which can be used on civilians. we cannot stand idly by while turkey undermines the fight against isis, attacks our
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kurdish allies, and puts hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in harm's way. these sanctions are an appropriate response that holds turkey responsible for its actions and provides incentives for president erdogan to change his course. one thing i learned as an undercover officer in the c.i.a. is that america only succeeds when our enemies fear us and our allies trust us. as members of nato, both the u.s. and turkey have committed to unite their efforts for collective defense and for preservation of peace and security. i hope our turkeyish counterparts will recommit to these -- turkish counterparts will recommit to these principles and work with us to protect the successes of joint u.s.-kurdish efforts to drive isis out of syria. thank you to my friends, the gentleman from new york and the gentleman from texas, for their work and commitment on this important bipartisan bill. i urge my colleagues to support it and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back. the gentleman from texas
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reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from illinois, a member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. kinzinger. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. kinzinger: thank you. i thank the ranking member for yielding. it's sad that we're here. as a military member, i spent a number of times in the airbase in turkey in 2006 or maybe a little bit before, 2005, i think we all as members of our body have been there in our travels and we see some amazing potential for a country that straddles two continents and plays such an important role in the future. but it's sad to see what's happened. so i'm reluctantly having to rise today in support of h.r. 4695, the protect against conflict of turkey act, also known as the pact act. i co-sponsored this because i'm worried about the direction of
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president erdogan and the direction he's taking the republic of turkey. the leader of a country with so much to offer the world should not be cozying up to the likes of vladimir putin and bashar al-assad. vladimir putin, who oversees a failing nation, quite honestly, and is not the future. and yet that's exactly what erdogan's doing when he decided to invade syria. far too many men, women and children have died at the hands of assad, putin and khomeini. and it's unthinkable that a leader of a nato nation will be joining this list of murderous thugs. but given the latest developments in syria, many of our kurdish partners will likely die because of erdogan's offensive. these are the same kurdish fighters who, while we lost less than 20 soldiers in the fight against isis from combat, lost 10,000, over 10,000 of their own men and women. these are the same kurdish fighters who spent the past five years hunting isis leader al-baghdadi, alongside our men and women in uniform. and we saw that come to fruition
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in a great way this weekend. without their constant pressure on the isis networks, our operators may have never had the chance to bring him to justice. not to mention the fact that turkey inevitably threatened to attack our troops in northern syria. that's why i'm proud to co-sponsor this. by applying targeted sanctions against those directly responsible for the operations, we're sending a message to the erdogan government that the u.s. will hold them liable for their actions. if he does not want to act like a nato nation, then his government will feel the repercussions of such decisions. i really want to thank chairman engel and ranking member mc caller: for -- mccaul for their steadfast leadership on the foreign affairs committee and i commend them for their ability to work in a bipartisan manner to advance measures in america's interest. with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: it's now my pleasure to yield one minute to our speaker of the house, the gentlewoman from california, ms. pelosi.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is ecognized. the speaker: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding and i thank him and mr. engel, distinguished chairman of the foreign affairs committee, and the distinguished ranking member of the committee, mr. mccaul, for their leadership in bringing this important bipartisan leadership to the floor. mr. speaker, as we all know, three weeks ago the president unleashed an escalation of chaos and insecurity in syria. when he gave turkey the green light to attack our kurdish partners, threatening lives, risking regional security and undermining america's credibility as a trustworthy ally. then instead of holding turkey accountable for its aggression, the president reversed his sanctions in exchange for a so-called ceasefire, which the turks clearly stated was not a
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ceasefire. today, democrats and republicans come together to demonstrate the strong, smart leadership that has sorely been lacking from the white house as the house passes -- passed this tough, targeted sanctions bill, to hold the turks accountable for the a-- their attacks on our kurdish partners. we salute chairman engel and ranking member mccaul once again for their leadership on this pact act and on the resolutions opposing president trump's decision on syria, including house joint resolution 77, a bipartisan, bicameral resolution hich passed the house on a 354-60 vote. here are the facts. our kurdish partners freed millions of people and tens of thousands of square miles from the grip of isis. throughout the fight, they sustained nearly 11,000 casualties. until recently, our kurdish partners protected america's
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security and the security of the region as more than 10,000 isis fighters and tens of thousands of isis family members were under their control. yet in a matter of weeks, the president has put our progress at risk. even with the death of al-baghdadi, isis remains a serious and resurgent threat. the death of a top isis leader does not mean the death of isis. scores of fighters remain under uncertain conditions in syrian prisons, and at risk of a jail break. nearly 800 isis supporters and family members have reportedly escaped. to say that turkey and syria still adequately guard the prisoners is outrageous and dangerous. at the same time, more than 250,000 kurdish civilians have fled their homes because of turkish attacks. dozens of civilians, in addition to possibly hundreds of brave
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kurdish fighters, have been killed. the only winners from the president's disastrous decision in syria are isis, the syrian government, iran and russia. with these targeted strong sanctions, america is holding accountable top turkish officials responsible for human rights abuses, including attacking our kurdish partners. we are penalizing turkish financial institutions who perpetuate president erdogan's corruption and abuses and are preventing the sale of arms for turkey -- to turkey for use in syria. as the house passes this legislation, we again call upon the president to support the kurdish communities and work to ensure that the turkish military acts with restraint and we require the trump administration to finally present a clear strategy to defeat isis. i strongly urge bipartisan -- i know we have bipartisan support for this legislation, again, i salute ranking member mccaul and
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chairman engel, for bringing this legislation to the floor. which is a vote to support the sacrifice of our military and our allies and a vote to restore strength, strategy and sanity to our national security policy. i think that a very strong, bipartisan vote in the house, similar to the one we had on house joint resolution 77, will send a very clear message that we can come together and we will come together in the interest of our national security, in the interest of americans' values, which are a part of our strength. and again, to fight terrorism wherever it exists, so that it does not reach our shores. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york reserves. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to echo the madam speaker's comments. when we stand united on the
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floor of the congress as americans, that's when we send the strongest message overseas to adversaries. i want to thank mr. engel for his strong work, in working with me to get to a positive place where we can actually get to a solution, to what's been a challenging and very fluid situation. it's always an honor to work with you, sir, on the foreign affairs committee, and in these times of crises, we are, i believe, strongest on the world stage when the executive and legislative branch speak in one voice. i know in his testimony before our committee, ambassador jeffries, special envoy to sir ark said i saw firsthand the effects of congressional sanctions when we visited with the turkish negotiating team, that these sanctions have been helpful in getting turks to agree to the ceasefire.
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i believe the resolution that we passed helps -- helped get turkey to the ceasefire as well. finally, i want to thank our partners in the syrian democratic forces for their ongoing dedication to countering isis. i want to say to the s.d.f., from the nation's capitol, on the house floor, that the american people are grateful for everything you've done for us, for everything you've worked for and everything you've sacrificed to keep the world safer. so with that, mr. speaker, i urge all members to support this important legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself as much time as i may consume. for the purpose of closing. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: i'd like to again
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thank ranking member mccaul for his partnership in writing this important bipartisan bill. it's even more than just partnership, it's working together on both sides of the aisle to do good for the american people. that's really what this should all be about, particularly when we're talking about foreign affairs. so i want to thank mr. mccaul for working closely with me and for really making this a real collaborative bill. the measure before us represents what the foreign affairs committee does best, bipartisan, commonsense legislation that advances american interests and american values on the global stage. the pact act holds turkey accountable for its bloodshed in syria. it calls on erdogan to immediately stop his campaign of ethnic cleansing, to expel syrian kurds and other minority groups from their homeland, and to start living up to the democratic values that we expect from a nato ally.
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values that right now are under constant attack in turkey. it's a sad coincidence, mr. speaker, stood the 96th anniversary of the founding of the republic of turkey. for nearly a century, the turkish people have fought hard to grow and preserve democracy in their country. erdogan has done such incredible damage to that legacy. i call on all my colleagues to join me and mr. mccaul in supporting this legislation and sending a strong message that the united states congress will not condone turkey's horrific atrocities against the kurds. not only will we not condone it, we oppose it and will speak out about it and we will try in every way we can to stop it. thank you, i yield -- i urge my colleagues to support this very
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