Congress Members Demand Expulsion of Turkish Personnel who Assaulted Americans
Washington, DC — Following the disturbing images and news reports detailing the attack on American citizens and legal residents by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's security detail during his official visit to the United States on May 16, U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and other Members of Congress today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanding justice for the “remorseless acts of violence.”
“This may be how they deal with dissenters in Turkey, but here in America that’s against the law,” said Rep. Hultgren. “Our country is founded on the rights of free speech and freedom of peaceful assembly. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security team’s brazen, physical assault on American citizens and legal residents peacefully protesting his policies is outrageous and follows a disturbing pattern. Foreign leaders, diplomats and staff are invited guests of our nation, and they should act as such. All of those involved—at all levels—must be held accountable.”
Specifically, the letter asks that Turkish personnel based in the U.S. who were involved in the attacks should be declared persona non grata and expelled from the country immediately, and Turkish personnel not based in the United States who were involved in the attacks should be barred from entry in the future.
The letter follows:
May 25, 2017
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Tillerson:
We write today to express our outrage over the remorseless acts of violence inflicted upon individuals exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment right to free speech outside the Washington, D.C. residence of the Turkish Ambassador on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Widely circulated video evidence shows and subsequent reports confirm that several members of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail physically assaulted multiple individuals leaving them bloodied and bruised with some having to be hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.
This behavior is the second time in two years that Turkish security forces have threatened and assaulted U.S. citizens and legal residents on American soil. This is unacceptable in any situation, but even more so when Turkish leaders come and claim to be faithful allies to the United States. This clear disrespect for our laws and those who enforce them, especially during National Police Week, is intolerable.
The individuals involved in Tuesday's attacks on Americans on U.S. soil must be identified and brought to justice. Turkish personnel based in the U.S. who were involved in the attacks should be declared persona non grata and expelled from the U.S. immediately. Turkish personnel not based in the United States who were involved in the attacks should be barred from entry into the U.S. in the future. Foreign nationals who cannot respect the rule of law of this great country should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges it affords.
Allies do not threaten U.S. troops and allies do not attack U.S. citizens on American soil. We ask you to uphold law and order and demand accountability from the Erdogan government.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.
Rep. Hultgren is Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) and a commissioner on both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the Helsinki Commission (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe).