Lawmakers call for extra security for anti-Erdoğan protesters 

Lawmakers call for extra security for anti-Erdoğan protesters 
© Getty Images

A bipartisan group of legislatures are urging the State Department and Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police to protect protesters demonstrating against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit on Wednesday.
 
In two separate letters, the lawmakers criticized Turkish security officers who attacked protesters during Erdoğan’s visit to the capitol in 2017 and asked law enforcement to ensure the safety of those speaking out against the Turkish president.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

The effort was led by Republican conference chairwoman Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Apple reportedly dropped plans to let iPhone users encrypt backups | Justices decline facial recognition case | Critics fear Facebook losing misinformation fight | Truce on French tech tax MORE (R-Wyo.) and Reps. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawO'Rourke says he'll focus on flipping Texas state House in 2020 House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP MORE (R-Texas) and Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (D-N.J.). Forty lawmakers signed the letters.

At least 16 Turkish security officers were identified by police for allegedly assaulting protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017. Footage of the incident captured on video showed Erdoğan’s security guards rushing into the crowd of demonstrators.
 
“The United States Constitution guarantees the right of free assembly and free speech. I stand with these protestors and encourage law enforcement to provide all the necessary safeguards against violence,” Pallone said in a statement. “It’s absurd that a sitting American President has invited a leader who promotes human rights abuses. Let’s show President Erdogan how a real democracy works and protect the individuals who are lawfully protesting the Turkish dictator and his autocratic regime.”
 
While charges were dropped against 11 security officers, four warrants remain outstanding including two additional warrants for Canadian citizens who also took part in the fighting. Two Americans were arrested and found guilty on charges of assaulting protesters.
 
Following the 2017 attack, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the violence by the Turkish officers and calling for their prosecution.