Assemblymember Chris Holden Commends CalPERS Decision to Reduce Investments in Turkey

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) made a decision that significantly reduced their exposure to investments currently held in Turkey. The action translates into over a $100 million reduction in CALPERS currency and equity exposure to Turkish issued securities, which brings the total current exposure to under $2 million. Assemblymember Chris Holden, who introduced legislation that would stop future investments in Turkey by the State’s retirement funds – AB 1019, commended the decision.

“CalPERS’ decision to reduce their investment in Turkey should be commended,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “A genocide denying and human rights abusing country is the last place our State’s investments should be held. I thank CalPERS for doing the right thing and encourage them to stop all future investment in Turkey.”

 California is home to the largest population of Armenians in the nation and most of them are of direct descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Despite efforts by state and federal governments around the world to encourage Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the government of Turkey continues to engage in an ongoing campaign of genocide denial and imposes an illegal economic blockade on neighboring Armenia.

Earlier this year, Assemblymember Chris Holden introduced the Stop Investment in Turkey Act, AB 1019, that will mandate the state stop all new investments or renew existing investments issued or owned by Turkey. The legislation is currently in the Assembly Committee on Public Employment and Retirement.

Current California law,, established by AB 1320 (in 2019), can impose economic sanctions against Turkey for not recognizing its responsibility for the Armenia Genocide, but only upon passage of federal sanctions, specifically for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Since passage of AB 1320, the United States Government has taken significant action against Turkey.  At the end of 2019, the United States Congress formally recognized the Armenian Genocide (HRES 296 and SRES 150) with bipartisan and overwhelming support. In 2020, the Executive Branch imposed sanctions on Turkey on over a multibillion-dollar acquisition of a Russian missile system. 

“Stopping investments in Turkey is one way California can pressure Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide and take steps towards justice for its victims,” said Holden.