Bilirakis Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Guards Who Attacked Protestors
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis called the attacks “remorseless acts of violence.”
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, has sent a letter to the Trump Administration demanding justice for Americans who were attacked this past week by security guards outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC.
Bilirakis’ letter to the administration was co-signed by 39 other members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg.
The letter referred to a clash that broke out between protestors outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail. Protestors say they were peaceful. Turkish representatives say they aggressively provoked people who had come to see Erdogan.
Bilirakis noted that “widely circulated video shows Erdogan watching on as his guards physically assaulted peaceful protestors outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., during his official visit to the U.S.”
Bilirakis said, “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. 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.”
The letter calls for Turkish personnel based in the U.S. or Turkey who were involved in the attacks be expelled immediately and barred from entering the U.S. in the future.
Here is the letter in full:
“We write today to express our outrage over the remorseless acts of violence inflicted upon individuals exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment right to free speech outside the Washington, D.C. residence of the Turkish Ambassador on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Widely circulated video evidence shows and subsequent reports confirm that several members of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail physically assaulted multiple individuals leaving them bloodied and bruised with some having to be hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.
“This behavior is the second time in two years that Turkish security forces have threatened and assaulted U.S. citizens and legal residents on American soil. This is unacceptable in any situation, but even more so when Turkish leaders come and claim to be faithful allies to the United States. This clear disrespect for our laws and those who enforce them, especially during National Police Week, is intolerable.
“The individuals involved in Tuesday’s attacks on Americans on U.S. soil must be identified and brought to justice. Turkish personnel based in the U.S. who were involved in the attacks should be declared persona non grata and expelled from the U.S. immediately. Turkish personnel not based in the United States who were involved in the attacks should be barred from entry into the U.S. in the future. Foreign nationals who cannot respect the rule oflaw of this great country should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges it affords.
“Allies do not threaten U.S. troops and allies do not attack U.S. citizens on American soil. We ask you to uphold law and order and demand accountability from the Erdogan government.
“Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.”
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes north Pinellas and Pasco counties.
For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.
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