The Escalating Outrage Over Turkish Attack on Peaceful Protesters

Social Networks, Congressional Condemnations, Criminal Investigations, and Major Media Interest Drive Unprecedented American Criticism of Turkish Government

WASHINGTON—Congressional outrage over Turkey President Recep Erdogan security team’s brutal beat-down of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. continues to grow as new video emerged showing that Erdogan appears to have ordered the attack, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
A growing number of Senate and House leaders are calling for action following the May 16th attacks by President Erdogan’s security detail on peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.
The May 16 incident has sparked global interest with the ANCA’s live video used by CNN, AP, Reuters, and over 300 news sites in the U.S. alone, and viewed by tens-of-millions of worldwide.

“We welcome the strong protests by members of the U.S. Senate and House against Erdogan’s efforts to export his government’s brutality to Washington, D.C.,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “As Senator McCain and others have said, Turkey’s Ambassador needs to be expelled at once.  We would add that Ankara must immediately issue a blanket waiver of diplomatic immunity, allowing the thugs who attacked American citizens – our friends and allies – to be brought to justice. And Erdogan himself needs to offer a full and formal apology to those injured in this assault, to the City of Washington, the government of the United States, and the American people.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been outspoken on ABC Nightly News and MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ where he stated, in no uncertain terms, “We should throw [Turkey’s] Ambassador the hell out of the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey or a third world country. This kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically,” he added.

Sen. McCain joined Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) in sending a letter to President Erdogan stating “The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans. […] Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms and reflects poorly on your government.”

Senate leaders—Republicans and Democrats alike—issued statements and took to social media condemning the attacks.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted, “This is the kind of thing Pres Erdogan lets happen to the Turkish people. It’s wrong there and it’s wrong here.”

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) referenced the Turkish government’s gag-rule on U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, noting, “Turk thugs assault U.S. diplomatic security and flee country—for these people we won’t say Armenian Genocide?”  His colleague, Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Democrat Jack Reed (R.I.) demanded “Those members of the security detail involved in the attacks should be disciplined and the Trump Administration must make it clear to all embassies in the United States that our laws protect protesters and their right to peaceful assembly and free speech.”

The Senior Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin (Md.) tweeted that “The Turkish government owes an apology; perhaps they forgot we have unalienable rights in this country,” calling the foreign security forces attack on American citizens “unacceptable.”

The Senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told MSNBC that “We should say, very strongly, that is not the way we do things in America.”

Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement calling for an immediate apology from the Turkish Government.  “Reports indicate that some Turkish officials were involved in assaulting protesters, which violates the most basic rules of democracy and is an affront to the United States and the value we place on the right to free speech, as embodied in our Constitution,” wrote the Senators. “We call upon the Turkish government to apologize immediately for the involvement of any officials.”

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R) said, “President Erdogan, you would do well to remember that this country is built on free speech, free religion, free press, & freedom to protest.”

Members of the House of Representatives were equally strident in condemning the attacks by Erdogan’s security detail.

House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), in a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, called for an immediate investigation, noting, “Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior. Above all else, they should never be permitted to violate the protection afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee member Don Beyer (D-Va.) called on President Trump to “immediately expel the Turkish Ambassador to the United States. President Erdogan’s attacks on human rights and democratic institutions in Turkey are disgraceful, but condoning such attacks on American soil betrays our deepest values.” Rep. Beyer, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein from 2009-2103, went on to note that “As someone who has represented my country abroad as an ambassador, I have a special appreciation for the vital role that envoys play and the expectations for honorable behavior that come with responsibility. These actions fall grievously short of that standard, and the U.S. must take a stand.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), stated “Erdogan is busy turning his own country into an authoritarian state, but he needs to know that his thugs are not welcome here and that there will be consequences for this attack.”

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), decried the White House silence on the attacks, stating, “it cannot go unanswered. There must be consequences for the individuals who attacked protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, and they should be identified and questioned before they leave the country.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) concurred, tweeting, “There must be consequences.”

Congressional Armenian Caucus founder and co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), in a letter to President Trump, explained, “It needs to be made explicitly clear, from the highest level of our government, that bullying and brutality towards peaceful protesters will not be tolerated in this country – even from visiting heads of state.  It also needs to be assured that your White House staff will comply fully with efforts to identify Turkish security forces who violated U.S. law, and allow justice to be pursued unfettered.”

Congressional Armenian Caucus Republican Co-Chair Dave Trott (R-Mich.) called the attacks “unacceptable,” noting “while this incident is reflective of the Turkish government’s broad suppression of democracy, this is the United States and these overt acts of violence against those expressing their First Amendment right will not be tolerated.”

Similarly, fellow Republican Co-Chair David Valadao (R-Calif.) explained, “Our Constitution guarantees our citizens the right to free speech and it’s important for those in our country to respect our laws. These violent attacks not only broke our law, but violated our shared American values.”

Senior House Foreign Affairs Committee member Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) tweeted to Turkey’s President Erdogan, “your common practice of violence against peaceful protesters must stop. It is unacceptable anywhere, especially, in the U.S.”

Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, tweeted, “Cozying up to dictators is shameful & now it’s put Americans in danger.”

Central Valley California Congressman Jim Costa (D) called the attacks “outrageous” and condemned them, and called for immediate action. “Our American President should take appropriate diplomatic and legal action against these Turkish thugs for their violence towards the Armenian, Kurdish, Yezidi, and other human rights demonstrators. If he does so, I believe he will find overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress,” said Rep. Costa.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) called President Erdogan “an authoritarian and an oppressor,” an went on to note, “It was unwise for President Trump to meet with him. Now the United States needs to send a strong message that we will not stand by as Erdogan brings the same thuggish tactics to our nation’s capital.”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) demanded “The Erdogan government must be held to account immediately and apologize for their anti-democratic violence.  The men responsible for this brutality should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  At the very least, this good squad should be declared persona non grata and removed from the country forever.”

Hawaii Democrat, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted, “Erdogan is so accustomed to beating up protestors in Turkey, evidently he thinks he can get away with such tactics here too – Outrageous.” She went on to call on President Trump to take action.  “President Trump, are you really going to allow Erdogan’s goons to beat up American citizens on American soil?”

District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton called on Secretary of State Tillerson to “bar any Turkish official who committed, encouraged, facilitated or otherwise participated in the assaults from reentering the United States if they have already left the country and expel any that remain in the country.”

Earlier in the week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the attacks, “an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans.”  D.C. Chief of Police Peter Newsham condemned the attacks and announced, “we have every intention to pursue charges against the other individual involved.”

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16th 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’s video is available here:

Voice of America Turkish division, in their video coverage shot from the vantage point of the Turkish Ambassador’s house, reported that the attackers belonged to President Erdogan’s security detail and were responsible for escalating the violence.

“The fights flared up after President Erdogan’s arrival at the Embassy residence,” reported Voice of America. “After the first bout of fights died down, Erdogan’s special security forces joined the second stage of fights. Fisticuffs and kicks ensued. The Washington Police Forces had great difficulty in preventing the fights. They had to use batons against Erdogan’s security forces.”

The Turkish language news item is available at:

Additional VOA Turkish video has now surfaced showing President Erdogan ordering his security detail to attack the protesters, then watching calmly as the beatings were carried out.  Audio analysis carried out by the Daily Caller shows Erdogan’s bodyguards yelling “gel gel gel”—“come, come, come” —and “dalın diyor dalın diyor dalın diyor,”—“he says attack, he says attack, he says attack.”  The Daily Caller’s coverage is available here:

The Washington Post has done a second-by-second analysis of the VOA Turkish videos and identified the Erdogan’s order of the attack, available here:

Since reporting on the attacks by President Erdogan’s security forces, the ANCA has been receiving threatening phone calls and messages on social media. These intimidation tactics have been reported to the Metropolitan Police and other authorities and are under investigation.

The protests in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s house were 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 denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. The D.C. Police seemed to have adopted a hands off policy towards the Turkish Thugs whom wore Erdogan’s signature monkey-suit attire, merely attempting to separate them from the Kurdish and Armenian Protestors; meanwhile, they more aggressively monitored those whom didn’t wear the Erdogan Body Guard dark suit attire. Perhaps, there was a Washington, D.C. directive, from on high, to manage the dark suited Erdogan Body Guards gently, because of an apparent diplomatic immunity.

    In this matter, there appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the ethical duties for monitoring diplomatic conduct, in the hierarchy of the D. C. Police System; another words, if a policeman (on duty) observes life threatening attacks, or inflictions of concussions and other serious head injuries, their ethical duty are compelled to use punitive force, and serve as life preservers, regardless of whether the perpetrators have diplomatic immunity.

    I wonder what these bureaucratic directives would say, if we find ourselves facing suicide bombers, with diplomatic immunity? Perhaps, they’d be compelled to protect the lives of prospective victims. Or, would they, considering what is before us with this kind of twisted logic?

    The solution to this problem is quite simple: Revoke the Turkish Embassy’s diplomatic immunity, evict them, and place all Turkish Officials into a Status of Persona Non Grata. But, this solution is the dark horse wild card long shot bet, because President Trump has just been shown greeting Turkey’s Erdogan, like a love sick school child, heaping praises upon the despot. Trump’s dumb-broad-smile doesn’t make it look any better, when he kissed up to Erdogan (with that speech).

  2. The expression of outrage and pronouncements of support from our elected representatives are welcome and appreciated. We will have to wait and see whether all of this will amount to any concrete action on the part the US Government to punish the perpetrators of this crime against peaceful Americans, or it will be business as usual, with a lot of finger wagging and little else.
    This is not the first time Erdoghan’s attack dogs have harassed and beat up people they consider their opponents and inferiors, both in their country and here on US soil. And the favored method of these supposedly “proud Turks”, most likely passed on through generations from their savage ancestors, is to descend like a wolf pack on helpless women and elderly men, punching and kicking them until they get their blood thirst satisfied. And they have gotten away with it every time.
    I wonder why that is? Yes, I know all about diplomatic immunity, NATO ally, geopolitical considerations, etc. But if the people being savagely beat up by foreign agents on American soil were not Armenians,Greeks and Kurds, but other minorities, such as African Americans, Latinos or Jews, wouldn’t the public uproar and calls for justice be louder?
    Wouldn’t there be calls for the law enforcement agencies to explain why were they so outnumbered and unprepared to control the situation and protect the peaceful demonstrators? And why weren’t the perpetrators of the crime pursued and arrested right there and then, like it is routinely done in similar situations? Have you ever witnessed, in this country, anyone beating and kicking another human being in front of the police and being allowed to walk away from the scene? That’s exactly what happened that day.
    Which brings me to this final thought: any time we plan a peaceful protest against the officials of that God forsaken country, we should be prepared to defend ourselves and our fellow protestors, Armenian or not, from the attacks of the likes of those mentioned above. The police might not always be able or willing to control the situation and the organizers of these sort of actions should know better. It’s not a noble act to confront a savage with a placard, get mauled and end up in the hospital. There are hundreds of brave young, and not so young, men and women in our community who would have been able and willing to confront these bastards and send them to hospital! all the while doing their noble duty of protecting their fellow citizens. It’s the God given right of every American to defend himself or herself and we should not shy away from it!
    And like the Scouts correctly teach: Always be prepared!

  3. They love to blow the trumpet and do nothing. It’s all TALK and nothing else by these politicians.

  4. If Americans value their freedom of speech, after May 16th incident, we could have seen massive demonstration in the major cities. So far, we hear just empty talks but no action.

  5. There is an issue that the West must recognize – Turkey is a tyranny that seeks to project its power far beyond its borders. First we had Hitler jr going nuts because his officials were not allowed to hold rallies all over Europe. Now we have beat-downs of peaceful Americans in America on orders of Der Fuhrer-lite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.