The House Foreign Affairs Committee has unanimously passed a resolution calling for the prosecution of armed Turkish government security men who “savagely beat, choked and kicked” peaceful U.S. protesters in Washington, D.C., in an “unprovoked assault” earlier this month.
House Resolution 354, passed Thursday, condemned the “brutal” attack during the May 16 protest and demanded that diplomatic immunity held by members of the security detail be rescinded so they can be prosecuted.
The resolution is a directive to Turkey that “we will not allow any foreign government to stifle the rights of our citizens,” committee chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said after passage of the resolution.
The day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a warm visit with Donald Trump in the White House, about 20 beefy security men in suits raced into a small crowd of protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Washington’s Embassy Row and viciously punched and repeatedly kicked several protesters, injuring at least 11, some of them seriously, as D.C. police struggled to fend off the attackers.
Erdogan sat in a black sedan in a driveway when the assaults — clearly captured on video — were unleashed. Video of his car show him speaking to an aide, who then talks to a second man who moves quickly toward the protesters as the attackers race into the crowd.
Trump, who has a twin-building Trump Towers in Istanbul and often praises Erdogan, hasn’t said a word about the attacks. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the State Department is “dismayed” by what occurred but will not take any action concerning the attacks until after an investigation is completed.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said that American officials should “throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America.”
The Turkish government has complained about the violence directed at its men, a scenario not supported by a number of videos of the event. Police used billy clubs to get the guards off protesters they were assaulting. Because police were overwhelmed by the attackers, only two “armed Turkish security officers attached to a security detail were detained at the scene for physically assaulting federal agents,” according to the committee resolution. They were released because they held “derived head of state” immunity due to their position in Erdogan’s security detail and flew back to Turkey. The State Department did not demand that their immunity be waived for prosecution in the attack, according to the resolution.
The police, the U.S. Secret Service and the State Department are continuing to investigate.