House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Resolution Condemning Turkish Security’s Violence Against US Protestors

Posted: May 25, 2017 12:30 PM
House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Resolution Condemning Turkish Security’s Violence Against US Protestors

The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bipartisan resolution Thursday morning condemning the violence against peaceful protesters by Turkish President Erdogan’s security outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence last week.

The resolution emphasizes 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” citing “multiple video recordings of the violence and reports by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia and the Department of State,” which “confirm that the demonstrators did not instigate the violence.”

The resolution says that the Turkish security forces 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.”

It also calls for a review of the incident by the State Department and Secret Service as well as a review of security procedures to “mitigate the likelihood of such an event in the future”

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA who introduced the measure said this morning that “this timely resolution sends a clear signal to the Turkish government that we will not allow any foreign government to stifle the rights of our citizens. It also calls on the State Department and the Secret Service to review their security procedures to prevent another incident like this from occurring, this is the third incident.”

Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel D-NY, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-CA, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer D-MD joined Royce in introducing the resolution Wednesday saying in a joint statement that “last week’s unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters by Turkish security forces on American soil must not go unanswered and that those responsible must face justice.”

Speaker Ryan tweeted support of the resolution Thursday morning, calling the violence "indefensible."

Now that the resolution has passed the committee, the House is expected to vote on it in early June according to McCarthy’s spokesman.

Footage of the incident shows the Turkish president calmly observing the attacks on protestors.

The State Department condemned the violence the day after the attacks and summoned the Turkish ambassador to explain the incident.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry responded by lodging a formal complaint with the U.S. Ambassador Monday blaming “U.S. security personnel” for “aggressive and unprofessional” actions against the Turkish foreign minister’s protective detail.

The White House has yet to comment on the violence.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe is also holding a hearing at noon Thursday to further investigate the incident.