Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Tuesday that Senate Bill 1089 (Turkey Divestment Extension Bill) has been signed into law. The bill requires California’s public employee retirement systems to divest from investments in the government of Turkey should federal sanctions on the Turkish government be signed into law.
“California stands by our Armenian brothers and sisters as Turkey stands mute,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “Turkey’s atrocities against the 1.5 million Armenians and its refusal to acknowledge the massacre is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Hopefully California’s continued refusal to invest millions of dollars in the Turkish economy will get their attention.”
Wilk is a founding member of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus and has been recognized as an advocate for the community during his legislative career. He and his wife, Vanessa Safoyan Wilk, have traveled to Armenia many times and are active in the Armenian community.
On Sunday, Wilk was named the 2022 Legislator of the Year by the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region at its annual awards gala in Beverly Hills.
California current law, enacted in 2019 (Assembly Bill 1320), requires California’s public employee retirement systems to divest from investments in the government of Turkey 18 months after the imposition of federal sanctions on that nation for its refusal to acknowledge its responsibility for the Armenian genocide. Wilk’s measure extends AB 1320’s existing sunset date for another 10 years.
With President Joe Biden affirming the United States’ record on the recognition of the Armenian genocide on April 24, 2021, and noting that recognition is a step “to ensure that what happened is never repeated,” it is important that California be prepared to send a clear message to Turkey, said the statement from Wilk’s office.