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Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to take steps to prevent another violent incident involving Turkish security detail. 

In the letter, Royce and Engel write: “In anticipation of the 72nd regular session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2017, we are writing to ask you to take steps to ensure that there is not another violent incident involving the security detail of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or other Turkish officials.  The violence on May 16 outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. was only the latest in a disturbing series of violent, unwarranted behavior by the security forces accompanying President Erdogan while in the United States. In 2011, Turkish security officials engaged in a fight with United Nations security personnel and again in 2016, Turkish security personnel attacked journalists at the Brookings Institution.” 

A signed copy of the letter can be found HERE.

September 8, 2017

The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

In anticipation of the 72nd regular session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2017, we are writing to ask you to take steps to ensure that there is not another violent incident involving the security detail of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or other Turkish officials.

The violence on May 16 outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. was only the latest in a disturbing series of violent, unwarranted behavior by the security forces accompanying President Erdogan while in the United States. In 2011, Turkish security officials engaged in a fight with United Nations security personnel and again in 2016, Turkish security personnel attacked journalists at the Brookings Institution.

On May 25, 2017, the House unanimously passed HRes. 354, condemning the outrageous and abusive actions of the Turkish security personnel in the violence outside the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence.  That measure called on the Department of State to confirm with Turkish National Police the expectations for visiting security details and review operating procedures to prevent future violent incidents.  We must ensure that Turkish National Police and accompanying security personnel respect the laws of the United States and refrain from any aggressive actions that are unrelated to the protection of the Turkish President. 

We thereby request the Department of State make these expectations clear in the diplomatic notes prior to the arrival of any Turkish delegation that is accompanied by security personnel.  We further request that you or Ambassador Bass reiterate these expectations to the highest levels of the Turkish Government.  We appreciate the Department’s cooperation with the criminal investigation into the May incident by local authorities in Washington D.C. and seek your assurance that those security personnel indicted for assaulting peaceful protestors will be denied visas to enter the United States as part of an official delegation.

Mr. Secretary, foreign officials, including security personnel, must respect U.S. law while visiting this country. Those who fail to do so must only be allowed to return to the United States to face the charges against them.

Sincerely,

EDWARD R. ROYCE                
Chairman

ELIOT L. ENGEL
Ranking Member       

 

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