US Representatives urge weapons block to Turkey over DC assault

"Preventing this sale sends a clear message that the US will not turn a blind eye to such brutality against unarmed protestors."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Several members of the United States Congress on Wednesday urged the State Department to reject an arms sale worth USD $1.2 million to Turkey over an assault by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards on peaceful American-Kurdish demonstrators in May.

In a letter to the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, 10 lawmakers from the Congress’ Hellenic Caucus which advocates Greek interests said the small weapons delivery “would benefit the Turkish Presidential security guards who beat unarmed protesters” last month.

“Preventing this sale sends a clear message that the US will not turn a blind eye to such brutality against unarmed protestors,” read the letter released on the House website of Representative Carolyn Maloney, Co-chair of the Hellenic Caucus.

“Such a sale must be contingent upon a resolution to the May 16 incident that includes holding the guards involved fully accountable,” the bipartisan initiative added regarding the assault that occurred after President Donald Trump’s meeting in the White House with Erdogan.

It remains to be seen if the State Department will take any steps in postponing or blocking the sale.

The DC assault by Erdogan’s security detail across the Turkish Ambassador’s residence led to widespread condemnation in the US media and among the politicians.

On June 6, by a vote of 397-0, the House passed a resolution condemning the attack and calling on the State Department to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Speaker Paul Ryan also expressed full support for the resolution.

The ties between the two NATO allies, already strained by Washington’s continued military support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, hit a new low last week.

DC Metropolitan Police issued arrest warrants for the 18 individuals including 12 members of Erdogan’s security entourage.

“How can such a thing happen? They [Americans] have issued arrest warrants for 12 of my bodyguards. What kind of law is this?” Erdogan asked protesting the US authorities’ pursuit of the issue.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday defended her administration’s intent to bring Erdogan’s bodyguards to justice.

By issuing arrest warrants “we send a clear and unambiguous message that no one — not even the security force of a foreign leader — is above the law,” wrote Bowser in an opinion piece for the New York Times.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany