WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) was joined by Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in introducing House Resolution 354, a resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) reported. The House Resolution calls for “the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”
H.Res. 354 states: “after hours of peaceful protest, violence erupted when pro-Erdogan supporters and individuals from the Turkish Embassy grounds pushed past District of Columbia police officers to brutally attack the demonstrators.” The Resolution expressed deep concern that “Turkish officials blatantly suppressed the First Amendment rights of United States citizens, and multiple armed Turkish security officials beat, kicked, and choked unarmed demonstrators.”
In addition, the Resolution noted that the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and other reports confirm that “the demonstrators did not instigate the violence,” and that this is the third instance of violence perpetrated in the U.S. by members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail.
H.Res. 354 calls for “any Turkish security officials who directed, oversaw, or participated in efforts by Turkish security forces to illegally suppress peaceful protests on May 16, 2017, should be charged and prosecuted under United States law.”
Taking a strong stand against the growing trend of repressive authoritarianism in Turkey, H.Res. 354 states that “the United States should take steps to strengthen freedoms for the press and civil society in countries such as Turkey, and combat efforts by foreign leaders to suppress free and peaceful protest in their own countries.”
“The Assembly applauds Representatives Royce, Engel, McCarthy, and Hoyer and their introduction of bipartisan legislation condemning Turkey’s outrageous attack against peaceful protesters and assault on our cherished democratic values,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said.
In last week’s statement, the Assembly called upon Members of Congress and the Administration to condemn this latest affront by Turkey on basic freedoms. The Assembly also launched a grassroots campaign to urge Members of the House and Senate to condemn the Turkish attack and hold those who perpetrated these acts of violence accountable.
In addition to the House Resolution, 28 Members signed a bipartisan letter urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “to speak out publicly against these actions and, just as importantly, ensure that these men are held fully accountable for their actions.” The previous day, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter to Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic, which says in part: “We encourage local law enforcement personnel to prosecute perpetrators of this attack to the fullest extent of the law and support the expulsion from the United States of any diplomatic personnel involved.” Other Members have spoken out against these attacks as well.