Washington, D.C. – Tonight the House of Representatives passed House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017 (H. Res. 354).

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“I would like to begin by thanking the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel – the Ranking Member – for working with me on this clear condemnation of the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, DC on May 16, 2017.

That day, President Erdogan of Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, met at the White House to discuss counterterrorism cooperation and bilateral issues.  This was an important meeting.

But that evening, armed members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail brutally attacked demonstrators who had gathered outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on Sheridan Circle in Washington, D.C., to protest various policies of the Turkish government.

In an unprovoked attack, armed Turkish personnel broke through D.C. Metro police lines and attacked the protesters.  They choked, beat and kicked the demonstrators until D.C. Metro police officers and State Department Diplomatic Security were able to stop the melee and restore order.

One woman was beaten unconscious.  She testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee that she sustained brain damage as a result.

A protester near her was beaten to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the face; his front teeth were smashed.

Mr. Speaker – what was the reason these and other American citizens were harshly beaten?  They chose to exercise their constitutional right to free speech and assembly. They chose to criticize actions of President Erdogan’s government.  The protesters got under the Turkish delegation’s skin.

Let us be clear — at no time was President Erdogan in danger.  This was not an act of protection; it was an act of suppression.  On our American soil!

The actions of the Turkish security detail were unprofessional and dangerous.  You had armed security personnel creating a melee.  The actions were unjustified and up to this point have gone largely unchallenged.

H. Res. 354 puts Congress firmly on record in clear, unmistakable terms condemning the actions of the Turkish security guards last month.  The resolution also demands that Turkey immediately lift diplomatic immunity for all those who assaulted U.S. citizens and law enforcement officers.

This resolution also calls for the U.S. State Department and U.S. Secret Service to review their security procedures and for them to convey to Turkish officials in clear terms the expectations for the behavior of their security teams when they are operating in the U.S.

Mr. Speaker – one of the most disturbing aspects of last month’s attack is that this assault by Turkish security officials was not an isolated incident. Rather, it was the third instance of violence they have engaged in while operating in the United States in recent years.

Passage of this resolution is an appropriate, strong response by this House to these brutal actions by Turkish forces.”