D.C. Attack Puts Turkey-U.S. Gun Deal in Jeopardy

ANCA’s Hamparian: ‘Senator Cardin is Right to Put the Brakes on this Proposed Sale of U.S. Firearms to Turkey’

WASHINGTON (A.W.)— Nearly two weeks following the violent attack against a group of peaceful protesters by the Turkish President’s security detail, the future of the sale of semiautomatic guns handguns to Turkish security forces appears to be in question, reported the New York Times.

A screenshot from a video of the attack by Turkish security forces, captured by Voice of America’s Turkish service (Photo: Voice of America)

The day before the attack against protesters, the U.S. State Department notified Congress of its intention to license the sale of $1.2 million worth of semiautomatic handguns to the security forces. However, with all the outrage that has erupted among American lawmakers and a continuing investigation by the State Department since the May 16 incident, things have the potential to take a turn.

Senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill have showed sign of resistance that may delay the transaction.

State Department documents show that the U.S. government would authorize Sig Sauer, the New Hampshire based firearms maker, to sell some 1,600 semiautomatic pistols to a Turkish government controlled intermediary, which in turn would sell them to the agency responsible for protecting the President. The State Department has declined to comment on the proposed sale.

The attack against the protestors has presented the State Department with an awkward situation, as it attempts to find a balance with geopolitical interests and domestic issues while coordinating a response. American lawmakers have demanded the guards be held accountable, while Turkey, a NATO ally has denied the guards’ role in the incident. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has even called for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department must approve of all weapons exports and is required to notify leaders of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees if the proposed sales exceed monetary limits.

In this case, the department gave the congressional leaders informal notification of the proposed sale on May 15, said the New York Times report.

Just days after the brawl, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to the department expressing concern about the sale. According to his spokesperson, the State Department never replied.

Given Cardin’s prominence, and the attention the attack has received on Capitol Hill, his objection could potentially stall the licensing process or even cause the State Department to cancel the sale.

“Senator Cardin is right to put the brakes on this proposed sale of U.S. fire-arms to Turkey, for use by the President Erdogan’s bodyguards, right after the brutal March 16th attack by this same security detail against peaceful protesters here in Washington, D.C.,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Suren Hamparian.

“This reckless sale should be cancelled and all arms sales or military aid to Turkey suspended until Erdogan has—at the very least—publicly apologized for the attack he ordered, waived immunity for those who beat American protectors, and ended his obstruction of justice for these crimes,” Hamparian added.

If the State Department were to proceed, issuing a formal notification to Capitol Hill that it intended to sign off on the sale, lawmakers would have 15 days to intervene. The State Department has already issued a series of statements condemning the attack and also had the Turkish Ambassador summoned. However, the department never mentioned the proposed gun sales in any public statement.

Republicans and Democrats in the House introduced a resolution last week condemning the attack and called for the security officials to be charged and prosecuted.



  1. It’s noteworthy that video evidence can prove that Erdogan gave orders to attack the protestors (most of whom are Kurdish-Americans). Turkey’s President Erdogan was directly involved, and gave the order to storm the police line; therefore, he is probably guilty of inciting violence, near the Turkish Embassy. President Trump doesn’t appear to have the moral resolve to do what is right, which would require him to close the Turkish Embassy, and ostracize Turkey’s president, as well as his bodyguards.

  2. Where are the arrests and indictments of the Turks who did not have any kind of diplomatic immunity? Their identities are, after all, mainly known.
    Is Congress following up on this and applying pressure?
    I don’t see any action anywhere on any of these things.

    Where are the civil suits?

    Have complaints been lodged with Washington, DC, US Secret Service, US State Dept., and Attorney General Sessions?

    I don’t see any news of this.

    How many of the people reading this have sent complaints to their members of Congress, US State Dept. Attorney General, and the White House demanding action and results?

    Is this issue simply going to be dropped?

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