ANCA Calls Out Weak Administration Response to Foreign Attack on American Freedoms
WASHINGTON—Metropolitan Washington D.C. police made two arrests in the case of the May 16 beatings of peaceful protesters, but stopped short of leveling charges against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail that led the brutal attack, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
According to The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, Turkish Americans Eyup Yildirim, an owner of a construction company in New Jersey, is charged with assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault while Sinan Narin, a Virginia resident faces an aggravated assault charge.
“We remain deeply troubled—nearly a month after this unprovoked assault by a foreign government on peaceful U.S. protesters—over the lack of criminal charges against Erdogan’s security detail and the failure of the Trump Administration to demand that Ankara waive its claims to immunity for all those involved in this assault on our American freedoms,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“These two arrests are a good start, but this is about far more than crime enforcement. It’s about our U.S. government standing up against foreign attempts to silence dissent by American citizens. In light of the major media attention devoted to this outrage and given the intense Congressional concern about its consequences – it is unacceptable that the White House and State Department have demonstrated such weakness, adopting, basically, a business-as-usual approach in the face of a brazen, angry, and arrogant foreign attack on peaceful protesters on American soil,” concluded Hamparian.
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 25th 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 16th by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.
On June 6, with a vote of 397 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously condemned Turkey in response to the attacks, taking a powerful stand against Ankara’s attempts to export its violence and intolerance to America’s shores. 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.), has received the public backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). A companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
The House 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.
Senate and House members have also raised concerns about the recently announced $1.2 million sale of semi-automatic guns slated for use by Turkish President Erdognan’s security detail, many of whom participated in the May 16 attacks. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce have already objected to the sale.
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Dave Trott (R-Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) are urging colleagues to co-sign a letter to Secretary Tillerson to block the gun sale to Turkey. To contact legislators to cosign the letter, visit: anca.org/NoGunsForTurkey
ANCA live footage of the attack served as source video for CNN, AP, The Washington Post, 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 report identified Yildirim and Narin as having participated in the attacks.
The New York Times coverage is available here:
The ANCA is cited by The New York Times as a source for this report.
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.