UC Divest Turkey Campaign Enters Final Phase

By admin · Mar 21, 2017

Los Angeles, CA — On March 14, the Divest Turkey campaign announced that it will formally begin communications with the University of California Board of Regents Office in order to discuss the divestment of the University of California’s $74 million invested in the Republic of Turkey’s government-issued bonds.

Over the past few months the campaign has been preparing financial documents to justify the fiduciary needs to divest alongside the ample ethical, moral, and political reasons to do so.

The campaign is also building a growing coalition with other ethnic and political organizations to potentially expand the campaign and demand further divestment from the Republic of Turkey in other institutions such as the California State University system, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS), California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CALSTRS), and beyond. A roundtable meeting and press conference will be announced soon with further details.

The announcement comes on the heels of news from last December, when the University of California, Merced (UC Merced) became the ninth and final UC undergraduate campus to vote in favor of divesting university funds from Turkey.

Since the Divest Turkey campaign’s inception in December 2015, all 9 UC schools, including Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz have voted overwhelmingly to divest, representing the will of a combined 238,000 students across the University of California, one of the largest university systems in the world.

“Big gears are turning towards social justice and human rights. As the last UC to pass such legislation, the task and spotlight now lay on the UC regent system for the next step in action,” said Alexander Hokikian, a student organizer at UC Davis, who joined various students of UC Merced, including members of the Armenian Student community, to speak out about the Republic of Turkey’s active campaign of genocide denial, and the need for divestment.

“Over the last two years, students from every UC campus and all walks of life have joined the “#DivestTurkey” campaign and have become the catalyst for its success and growth. We look forward to the expansion of the campaign as we mark this milestone. The outpouring of support from the universities, students, and communities in solidarity with our cause has been a driving force behind these accomplishments. As we look ahead to the future of this initiative, we urge the UC Regents to mirror the will of the over 238,000 students who have unanimously, on every campus, demanded the full divestment of funds in the Turkish government” stated AYF member Gev Iskajyan.

The Divest Turkey campaign is a collaborative initiative between the All-Armenian Students’ Association and the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Western United States – a grassroots community organization dedicated to justice for the Armenian cause and the Armenian people. For any questions, comments or inquiries on the #DivestTurkey campaign, please email divestment@ayfwest.org.

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