ANCA’s Hamparian: ‘Erdogan’s Doubling Down on Denial… He’s Targeting our Values, Telling us When We Can and Cannot Speak out as U.S. Citizens’
ANKARA (A.W.)—The United States Ambassador in Ankara John Bass was summoned by Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Ambassador Ümit Yalçın, shorty after arrest warrants for a group of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security personnel were issued earlier today. The charges stem from an unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters by members of Erdogan’s security detail in Washington on May 16.
The statement released by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that the May 16 attack would not have occurred if the U.S. authorities “had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits,” and claims that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place.
“It has been conveyed to the Ambassador that this decision taken by U.S. authorities is wrong, biased, and lacks legal basis; that the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the U.S. authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place,” read a part of the statement.
According to the Ministry, the U.S. Ambassador has also been informed that the tolerance of the U.S. authorities towards the protesters to approach the Turkish Residence “with flags and symbols of terrorist organization and their assault to innocent citizens,” as well as the lack of any action taken against the U.S. security personnel “who assaulted Turkish security guards,” run counter to any “understanding of justice.”
“It has been emphasized that the decision, which clearly was not taken as a result of an impartial and independent investigation, is unacceptable,” concluded the Ministry’s statement.
“Erdogan’s doubling down on denial,” Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian told the Armenian Weekly. “Drawing on the same playbook Ankara has used in Washington since the time of the Armenian Genocide, he is—against all evidence—blaming the victim and trying to bully everyone else into silence. This time, in a fit of unprecedented anger and arrogance, Erdogan’s openly insulting U.S. law enforcement and unapologetically assuming for himself the right to deny Americans our inalienable rights and Constitutional freedoms.”
According to Hamparian, the move to condemn the decision to charge the members of the security detail is an attack on American values. “Having intimidated U.S. leaders into silence on the Armenian Genocide, basically enforcing a foreign gag-rule on what we can say about our own American history, he’s [Erdogan] now targeting our values, telling us when we can and cannot speak out as U.S. citizens,” Hamparian said.
During a press conference on June 15, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham announced that arrest warrants have been issued for the arrest of 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail and Turkish police officers in connection with the May 16 attack on peaceful protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.
According to a Washington D.C. Police Department press release, a total of 18 individuals have been charged or are facing charges. Photographs of the 14 individuals, including Turkish security officers, who have outstanding warrants for their arrests, were also released by D.C. Police.