— Amerika'nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
The House of Representatives unanimously voted for criminal charges to be pressed against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s security guards who participated in attacks on protesters in Washington, D.C. during his visit last month. The resolution passed on a vote of 397-0 yesterday, although 30 members did not cast votes.
“Any Turkish security officials who directed, oversaw, or participated in efforts by Turkish security forces to illegally suppress peaceful protests … should be charged and prosecuted under United States law,” the resolution affirmed. Video above shows guards pushing past D.C. police, punching and beating protesters as well as kicking some already on the ground. Eleven people were injured in the incident.
“The blame for this assault lies with the Turkish government alone,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, urging Turkey “to finally accept responsibility for this egregious incident and apologize to those who were harmed.” The resolution calls for prosecution of guards under United States law. The resolution, however, could only produce arrests if President Donald Trump‘s administration chose to pursue the charges. An investigation into the incident is currently being conducting by the State Department.
Two members of the security detail were arrested and detained in the US, but were ultimately allowed to return to Turkey with the remaining guards. Turkish representatives have since rejected the resolution: it goes “against the spirit of alliance and partnership,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said.
[Image via screengrab]