US Congress Adopts Resolution Condemning Turkey Over Washington Brawl

The House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning Turkey over beating up of protesters by bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16 in Washington, D.C., outside the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence.

H.Res. 354, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee on May. 25, came to the House Floor on Tuesday for a vote. It was unanimously adopted by a bipartisan consensus in a way that reveals a prevalent overwhelming sense of fury against the incident.

Lawmakers voted 397-0 to pass the Resolution, which calls for members of President Erdogan’s security team to be brought to justice.

It also demands that measures are implemented to prevent another incident from happening. Among those measures, a review of State Department’s security procedures is included to deal with the problem.

“Today, the House sent an unequivocal message that violence against peaceful demonstrators will not be tolerated,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement after the vote.

“The blame for this assault lies with the Turkish government alone. I urge Istanbul to finally accept responsibility for this egregious incident and apologize to those who were harmed,” Mr. Ryan said, adding that “our resolve to defend the First Amendment and condemn suppression is stronger than ever.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) led the resolution and lobbied for its acceptance.

On May 16, members of President Erdogan’s security detail engaged in a violent brawl with a group of Kurdish-American, and Armenian protesters. At least 11 protesters were injured.

The revelation of multiple video recordings featuring bodyguards attacking protesters, kicking women on the ground, has sent shockwaves across the political spectrum in the U.S. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, even called for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Serdar Kilic in a reflection of dismay and rage.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry incensed with media depiction of the altercation between protesters and bodyguards. After summoning the American ambassador in Ankara, the Foreign Ministry castigated the U.S. authorities over “aggressive and unprofessional actions” against Turkish security team members.

It also placed blame on the U.S. side for failing to provide additional security to President Erdogan during the 2-day trip and faulted outbreak of the brawl on security lapse.

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