Op-Ed: It’s About Time the U.S. Tells Erdogan That Turkey Is Not Above the Law

Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) Pens Op-ed for the Armenian Weekly: ‘We have let Turkey off the hook for too long…’

Special for the Armenian Weekly

In May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s henchmen waged a brutal attack on peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, D.C.  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 cannot be tolerated.

Rep. Dave Trott (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Even more disturbing is that this outrageous behavior was not an isolated incident. The Turkish government has a rich history of violence, brutality, and, of course, denial. From the Ottoman Empire’s campaign to exterminate the Armenian people to Erdogan’s thugs kicking peaceful protesters in the head in Washington, Erdogan and his high-priced lobbyists have continually shut down free speech and press in an effort to rewrite history.

In response to the latest attack by Erdogan’s henchmen, I was proud to strongly support a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives denouncing the attacks and demanding the perpetrators be brought to justice. Of course, this resolution was met with a ridiculous response on the part of the Turkish government. Erdogan’s regime even went so far as to blame D.C.’s own local police force for their violent behavior, but their continued attempts to rewrite history will not hinder my efforts.

The Department of State recently informed Congress it is considering an application to sell arms to the Turkish government—arms that will be made available to the same bodyguards that beat up these protesters. I immediately led a bipartisan effort in Congress to stop this sale. The United States cannot be complicit in Turkey’s efforts to compromise our democratic values, and this proposed arms sale is nothing short of an endorsement of the actions of President Erdogan’s security force.

Just last week, Germany, our fellow NATO ally, took the extraordinary step of beginning to withdraw troops from Incirlik Air Base. German officials additionally made clear to Erdogan that any members of his security detail involved in the brawl outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington were not welcome to attend the G20 Summit and banned from visiting Germany for the foreseeable future.

We have let Turkey off the hook for too long. Thankfully, my amendment to stop this arms sale to Turkey passed the House of Representatives unanimously.

Furthermore, I worked across the aisle to introduce an amendment that would block any of Erdogan’s guards involved in the Washington brawl from receiving visas to return to the United States. Slowly, but surely, we’re holding the Turkish government accountable, and Erdogan’s PR team in Washington won’t be able to whitewash his actions for much longer. In just the past month, two measures to hold the Turkish government accountable have passed the House of Representatives unanimously—an unthinkable feat a year ago.

I have the honor of representing a strong and vibrant Armenian community in Southeast Michigan, and, in representing them, I have always worked to ensure they have a seat at the table in our nation’s capital.

Whether it’s fighting to ensure the U.S. finally recognizes the Armenian Genocide, standing up for the Armenian people, right here, in the United States, or ensuring our nation stands firm against President Erdogan’s violent henchmen, my goal is to always be a staunch defender of the Armenian community at home and abroad.

It’s about time the United States tells Erdogan that Turkey’s strategic location does not place it above the law.


Dave Trott

Rep. Dave Trott represents Michigan’s 11th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, in which he has led the fight to recognize the Armenian genocide and preserve the rights of religious minorities in the United States and around the world.


  1. Time to STOP importing from Turkey all the canned goods and otherwise that are being sold in Armenian owned grocery stores…time to boycott the Armenian owned importer ingredients companies that distribute Turkish products…TIME TO WAKE UP…

  2. The Turks and Azerbaijanis have great egos but no pride. They lie and cheat every minute of every day and are thus completely inured to its ill effects.
    The only way to combat them is for the international community to stop treating them with the respect we offer other nations (that don’t lie and cheat) and do what’s right. Turkey needs to pay through the nose for attempting to wipe out our ancient civilization by returning the wealth, properties, land and dignity it stole.
    There are lots of good people in Turkey that want to set things right. They need to have their voices returned and that government needs to be flushed clean.

  3. America should NOT care about TERRORIST and CORRUPT Erdogan, the President of Turkey. America’s moral values are indeed much important than what we get in return from the corrupt president Erdogan, his family and Turkey. Minorities are still being persecuted and imprisoned by Sultan Erdogan who tries to install absolute power for himself to destroy ALL FREEDOMS for freedom/democracy loving Turks and for Minorities. It is time to kick out Turkey from NATO. Innocent Kurds, Armenians, Jews, Assirians are still being persecuted without due legal considerations. Sultan Erdogan is in the process of destroying the Republic of Turkey, established by Attatruk, the Middle East current set up and the Islamic world at large. Erdogan himself created a fake Coup D’etat to eliminated ALL oppositions, specially the Peoples Democratic Party, AKA Haklarin Demokratic Partisi, HDP. It seems the destiny of the HDP members of over 44 parliamentarians will have the same end as it happened to the Armenians parliamentarians in 1915 during the ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. Corrupt President Erdogan is indeed trying to eliminate the entire HDP Party. Turkey and the Turks need to have a new DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP.

  4. Turkey must be isolated. It should lose its membership in NATO and never be allowed into the European Union. One cannot blame Erdogan and not the Turks. Both are made of the same fabric. Unchallenged, Erdogan will spread his venom across the world, including persecution of Christians as a whole and Armenians in particular.

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