US Senators demand action against President Erdogan’s security staff

A man is kicked in the face by Erdogan's bodyguards as he lies on the floor outside the Turkish ambassador's residence, 16 May 2017, (VOA Turkish)

Two Republicans from Florida are demanding action from the State Department after members of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s security staff attacked protesters against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington DC earlier this month.

The letter sent to the Justice and State Departments demanded members of Erdogan’s staff be brought to justice and barred from re-entering the US.

“I was outraged to see remorseless acts of violence carried out by the Erdogan government against individuals exercising their First Amendment rights on American soil,” said Gus Bilirakis, one of the two Republicans.

“This is unacceptable in any situation, but even more so when Turkish leaders visit our nation and claim to be faithful allies. We must uphold the law and demand accountability from all who are responsible.”

More than 15 other senators, including US Senators Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, signed the letter.

“We write today to express our concern regarding the apparent involvement of members of the Turkish security detail accompanying President Recep Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a violent altercation outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC on May 16. If true, this is the second time in little more than a year that members of Turkish diplomatic security have intervened violently against protestors and members of the media in the United States. This is not acceptable,” wrote the senators.

“We urge you to work expeditiously with the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department to identify the perpetrators of this assault and to determine whether members of President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s security detail were involved. If their participation is confirmed, those responsible should be held accountable under applicable US law.”