Press Releases

Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) today called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to hold accountable members of the Turkish security detail who attacked peaceful protestors outside the ambassador’s resident in Washington.

“The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans,” the senators wrote. “Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government. We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO, and a key U.S. ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decade’s long partnership.”

The full text of the letter follows:

May 18, 2017

His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President of the Republic of Turkey
T.C. Cumhurbaskanligi Genel Sekreterligi
06689 Cankaya, Ankara
Turkey

Dear President Erdogan:

We write today to express our grave concern with the behavior of some members of your security detail outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. The violent response of your security detail to peaceful protestors is wholly unacceptable and, unfortunately, reflective of your government’s treatment of the press, ethnic minority groups and political opponents.

On May 16, 2017, members of your security detail allegedly broke through police lines and violently attacked a small number of protestors outside of Ambassador Kilic’s residence, wounding at least nine people. Yesterday’s attack, however, was not an isolated incident. Last year some of your supporters and members of your security detail violently clashed with protestors and members of the media at the Brookings Institution.

The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans. Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government. We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO, and a key U.S. ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decade’s long partnership.

We cannot turn a blind eye to these actions at home, and we urge you to hold accountable those members of your staff who violently attacked peaceful protestors in our nation’s capital.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

John McCain
United States Senator

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