Latest:

Congress Set to Condemn May 16 D.C. Attack on Peaceful Protesters

 

Strong Bipartisan Backing for June 6 Vote on H.Res.354

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives is set to condemn the May 16 attack by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards against peaceful protesters in Washington D.C., through a bipartisan resolution “calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to condemn the May 16 attack by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards against peaceful protesters in Washington D.C.

H.Res.354, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), was adopted unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 25th. The measure has received the public backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

The House is set to discuss H.Res.354 on the afternoon of June 6 with a vote on the matter scheduled after 6:30 p.m. EST.

“We are pleased to see H.Res.354 scheduled for a floor vote and are eager to see Members speak and vote in favor of this broadly backed, bipartisan condemnation of President Erdogan’s ongoing attempts to export his intolerance and aggression to American shores,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “We call on the Administration to undertake each of the measures called for in H.Res.354 and, in addition, to expel Turkey’s Ambassador, cancel the pending small arms sale to Turkey, and suspend any and all bilateral military aid or arms deals until Ankara has stopped obstructing justice – and started reckoning honestly – regarding its brutal May 16th attack.”

The resolution condemns the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, and calls for “the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The full text of the resolution is provided below.

The vote follows broad-based Congressional outrage expressed by over 100 Senate and House members through public statements, social media, and a series of Congressional letters.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with representatives of The Atlantic Council, a leading think tank in Washington, D.C. which receives funding from Turkey. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters—elderly men and several women—who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.  Hamparian testified before a May 25 Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on this matter.  Joining him at the hearing were Ms. Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Ezidi Relief Fund; Mr. Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer; and Ms. Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  Usoyan and Yusa were victims of the brutal assault on May 16 by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

ANCA live footage of the attack served as source video for CNN, AP, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Caller and other major media, transforming the violent incident into a global spotlight on Erdogan’s attempt to export his intolerance and aggression to American shores.

The Sunday, June 4 edition of The New York Times featured a two-page center-spread investigative report on the May 16th attack, with online version of the coverage translated to Turkish and shared widely on social media. The ANCA is cited by The New York Times as a source for this report.

The New York Times coverage is available here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/26/us/turkey-protesters-attack-video-analysis.html

The May 16 protest in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence was a continuation of a demonstration held earlier in the day in front of the White House, co-hosted by the ANCA. As President Trump met with President Erdogan, human rights and religious rights groups were joined by representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi and Armenian communities to call attention to the Erdogan regime’s escalating repression against free press, the Kurdish and other ethnic communities, as well as Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide.

***

Text of Resolution H.Res.354

Condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. ROYCE of California (for himself, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. MCCARTHY, and Mr. HOYER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Whereas on May 16, 2017, President Donald J. Trump hosted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, for an official meeting at the White House to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation and bilateral issues;

Whereas on the evening of May 16, 2017, over two dozen protesters gathered outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate opposition to Turkish Government policies;

Whereas after hours of peaceful protest, violence erupted when pro-Erdogan supporters and individuals from the Turkish Embassy grounds pushed past District of Columbia police officers to brutally attack the demonstrators;

Whereas those Turkish officials blatantly suppressed the First Amendment rights of United States citizens, and multiple armed Turkish security officials beat, kicked, and choked unarmed demonstrators;

Whereas multiple video recordings of the violence and reports by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia and the Department of State confirm that the demonstrators did not instigate the violence;

Whereas at least 11 individuals were seriously injured in the ensuing brawl, with two individuals requiring immediate hospitalization;

Whereas two armed Turkish security officers attached to a security detail were detained at the scene for physically assaulting Federal agents;

Whereas those two Turkish security officers were later re- leased and subsequently allowed to leave the United States because they held Derived Head of State immunity;

Whereas the Department of State did not request that Turkey waive the immunity for these two security officers in order to fully investigate the assault prior to their being released from custody;

Whereas a joint criminal investigation into the incident is on- going with the combined efforts of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Secret Service, and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service;

Whereas at no point was President Erdogan in danger;

Whereas immunity for diplomatic personnel and certain other foreign officials is a core principle, as is the right to pro- test peacefully and freely in the United States;

Whereas this is the third instance of violence perpetrated by members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail in United States territory;

Whereas in 2011, a brawl erupted in the halls of the United Nations General Assembly between members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail and United Nations security officers, resulting in one United Nations security officer being hospitalized due to serious injuries;

Whereas in 2016, members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail engaged in unwarranted violence against journalists reporting on an event at the Brookings Institution;

Whereas Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on May 21, 2017, that the violence outside the Turkish Embassy was ‘‘outrageous’’ and ‘‘simply unacceptable’’; and

Whereas the right to assembly, peaceful protest, and freedom of speech are essential and protected rights in the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) the rights to peacefully assemble and freely express one’s views are essential to the fabric of

American democracy;

(2) the Turkish security forces acted in an un-professional and brutal manner, reflecting poorly on President Erdogan and the Government of Turkey;

(3) any Turkish security officials who directed, oversaw, or participated in efforts by Turkish security forces to illegally suppress peaceful protests on May 16, 2017, should be charged and prosecuted under United States law;

(4) the United States Secret Service and the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State should review this incident and confirm with the Turkish National Police the standards expected by visiting security details to prevent future violent incidents;

(5) the Department of State should immediately request the waiver of immunity of any Turkish security detail official engaged in assault in the United States prior to release of that individual from custody;

(6) the Department of State should conduct a review of its own security procedures to determine how to mitigate the likelihood of such an event in the future;

(7) the United States’ respect for free speech requires officials of the United States to speak out against such incidents; and

(8) the United States should take steps to strengthen freedoms for the press and civil society in countries such as Turkey, and combat efforts by foreign leaders to suppress free and peaceful protest in their own countries.

1 Comment on Congress Set to Condemn May 16 D.C. Attack on Peaceful Protesters

  1. Resolutions are fine, but we need indictments and prosecutions, especially of the Turks who do not have diplomatic immunity.

    The video establishes guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. What’s the hold-up?

    I have mailed and emailed the Sec. of State, Atty. General, Trump, and the mayor of DC.

    Let’s keep up the pressure and get these Turkish thugs and genocide deniers (which is what they surely are) thrown into prison where they belong.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*