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Rohrabacher Calls for Barring Turkey’s President Erdogan from U.S.

May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, convened a hearing Tuesday on last week’s violence that took place in front of Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., upon President Recep Tayip Erdogan’s visit to the nation’s capital. The hearing featured as witnesses American citizens who were brutally assaulted by Erdogan’s armed security guards.

In the hearing, Rohrabacher demanded the Turkish dictator not be invited back to the United States. These are the California Republican’s remarks:                                                           

Nine days ago, on May 16, the president of Turkey was visiting Washington on a formal visit to the United States. It was during that trip that a group of American protestors concerned about the growing repression by the Erdogan regime in Turkey gathered outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador to exercise their right to peaceably assemble.

Incredibly, security officers associated with President Erdogan -- his nominal bodyguards -- broke past a police line and unashamedly attacked the peaceful protesters. The video of this ghoulish and fascistic attack is appalling. At least eleven innocent Americans were bloodied and some of the Turkish security members were so brazen as to scuffle with U.S. law enforcement personnel during the melee.

Furthermore, video evidence suggests President Erdogan looked on as the attack took place. I find it hard to believe that well-trained security officials would launch such an explosive and unprovoked attack without orders from their superior.

The attack by the members of the Turkish security service is an affront to democratic values and an act of supreme disrespect to the United States. This situation has been made only worse by the ongoing reaction of the Turkish government to summon the U.S. ambassador in Ankara and to protest the actions of American law enforcement as “aggressive”!

This arrogance is beyond the pale. Erdogan should never be invited to the U.S. again. He is an enemy of everything America stands for.

Perhaps such an incident would not be so offensive except that this fits a pattern of broader political violence and brutal suppression that have come to characterize the current Turkish government, both at home and abroad.

I would remind everyone that a similar incident occurred during President Erdogan’s previous visit to Washington. Last March, while Erdogan spoke at the Brookings Institution, his guards attacked protesters and a journalist trying to cover the event.

The repressive and authoritarian nature of Erdogan’s government has been developing and growing for years. It is as dangerous as it is unacceptable.


Kenneth Grubbs, 202-225-2415