Stay out of the US, House subcommittee chairman tells Erdoğan

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Dana Rohrabacher

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should never be allowed to visit the United States again and Turkey’s ambassador in Washington should be expelled were some of the strong comments made during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Thursday concerning violence perpetrated by Erdoğan’s bodyguards on protestors outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence last week.

“To have the president of another country who watched his bully boys beat Americans into the ground and bloody them and for him to protest our people, that is the supreme insult,” said Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, in his opening statement. “We don’t need people like you visiting the United States any more.”

“When we want to talk to the Turks, we want to talk to Turks who want to have a democratic society, and not to their oppressor, a man who is trying to create Islamofascism in his own country with him as the head fascist. … Erdoğan should never again be invited to the United States. He is an enemy of everything we stand for, and more importantly, he is the enemy of his own people.”

Demonstrators protesting the policies of President Erdoğan, who was visiting Washington for a White House meeting with Donald Trump last Thursday, were countered by agitated supporters of the Turkish head of state and subsequently attacked by the Turkish president’s bodyguards, footage of the incident shows. Another video clip shows Erdoğan apparently giving the order for his security detail to attack the protesters and watching it unfold outside the ambassador’s residence on Sheridan Circle.

Saying that the incident fits a pattern of broader political violence and suppression that has come to characterize the current Turkish government both at home and abroad, the chairman made reference to a similar incident last year when Erdoğan was speaking at the Brookings Institution, at which time his bodyguards attacked protesters and journalists trying to cover the event. “The repressive and authoritarian nature of the Erdoğan government has been developing … right in front of our eyes,” he said.

Rohrabacher accused the “supposed leader” of Turkey of declaring that the longstanding US-Turkish friendship is over and that his people no longer have democratic rights, calling it “totally unacceptable.”

“One has to wonder why President Erdoğan felt so emboldened that in the bright DC sunshine, in front of cameras and hundreds of people, he sent his attack dogs out,” said Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, faulting the reduced emphasis on human rights by the current US administration.

Calling the incident “an attack on American sovereignty,” Rep Brad Sherman of California said: “The actions of those thugs have been compounded by the lies of the Turkish ambassador … and he should be asked to leave our country immediately.”

A resolution condemning Turkey for the attack on Americans on US soil has been introduced in the House of Representatives and is expected to be voted in early June.

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