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Cheney calls for Turkish leader's bodyguards to be banned from re-entering US

Cheney calls for Turkish leader's bodyguards to be banned from re-entering US
© Greg Nash

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySteve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power Graham vows GOP will accept election results after Trump comments MORE (R-Wyo.) is calling on the State Department to bar any individuals who traveled with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2017 and took part in an assault on U.S. citizens outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence from re-entering the country this week.

The request from the House Republican Conference chairwoman comes as Erdoğan is due to meet with President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE at the White House on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo warns any arms sales to Iran will result in sanctions as embargo expires Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of missile strike that killed at least 13 MORE on Monday, Cheney — who has risen to become one of the most prominent GOP voices on foreign policy — noted the 2017 attack was not the first instance of such violence, stating “Erdoğan’s thugs have used authoritarian tactics” against Americans during visits to the U.S. in the past.

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“During his last visit to Washington, D.C. in 2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's so-called 'security detail' brutally attacked peaceful demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence,” she wrote.  

“At least eleven people were injured throughout the day, including law enforcement personnel who every day defend Americans' constitutional rights and physical safety.”

The Wyoming Republican — who has been highly critical of the administration’s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria ahead of a Turkish attack on Kurdish allies last month — said the behavior might be routine in Turkey but that it should not be brought to the U.S.

“It is wrong and disturbing there, and it is an affront to American values and entirely unwelcome here. The Erdoğan regime's use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,” she continued. 

Cheney specifically requested the State Department make assurances that "none of the people who were in the United States with President Erdoğan in 2017 and participated in physical attacks on American citizens—including those protesting lawfully, our secret service, our diplomatic service, and our law enforcement officials—will be allowed into the United States again this week."

Cheney also called on State to ensure that "if any of these people do arrive with President Erdoğan, they will be immediately expelled from the United States.” 

The lawmaker went on to state she welcomes U.S. citizens peacefully protesting Erdoğan's visit, adding it’s critical to allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights. 

Her letter comes as a group of bipartisan lawmakers has called on the president to rescind his invitation for Erdoğan to come to the White House on Wednesday, citing concerns over Turkey's incursion on northern Syria.