Rep. Liz Cheney is seeking assurances from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail who attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., in May 2017 will either not be allowed into the U.S. when he visits the White House this week, or will be expelled if they show up.
Members of Erdogan’s entourage attacked and injured at least 11 protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017. Erdogan was captured on video watching calmly as the attacks unfolded. He was also seen relaying instructions to a bodyguard who ordered the assault.
A grand jury in Washington indicted 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail, and four private citizens on Aug. 29, 2017. Charges against 11 of Erdogan’s bodyguards were dropped in February 2018, just a day before then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Turkey.
Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in Congress, wants to ensure that none of those charged in the attacks will accompany Erdogan when he visits the White House on Wednesday.
“The Erdogan regime’s use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,” Cheney said in a letter to Pompeo, which was reported by the Washington Examiner. (RELATED: Video Emerges Of Erdogan Watching As His Goons Attack Peaceful Protesters)
“The 2017 clashes were not the first time Erdogan’s thugs have used authoritarian tactics against American citizens while visiting the United States,” she added.
“If any of these people do arrive with President Erdogan, they will be immediately expelled from the United States,” Cheney wrote.
Trump invited Erdogan despite tensions over Turkey’s incursion last month into northern Syria.
In response to military strikes, the House passed a resolution recognizing the Ottoman empire’s genocide against Armenians in 1915. Erdogan threatened to cancel his stateside trip over the resolution, which the Turkish government has long opposed.
The Daily Caller identified two Turkish-American supporters of Erdogan’s who took part in the assault against the protesters, many of whom were Kurdish, Armenian, and Yazidi critics of the Turkish leader. The two private citizens, Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin, pleaded guilty to charges and were sentenced to one year in prison.
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