Bipartisan House resolution blasts Turkey for violent incident at embassy

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Story highlights

  • Pro-democracy activists have denounced Turkish president's human rights record
  • The measure is non-binding, but it adds to a chorus of strong public condemnation

(CNN)Top House Republicans and Democrats are uniting to introduce a resolution condemning Turkey, a US ally, after a violent altercation erupted at the Turkish Ambassador's residence in Washington in which security officials brutally beat US protestors.

The images of the Turkish security forces hitting a group of Americans protesting human rights practices of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government on the same day he was hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House went viral.
    House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, a California Republican, and the top Democrat on the panel, New York's Eliot Engel, crafted the House resolution sharply criticizing the Erdogan government's handling of the issue and calling on those involved to be prosecuted. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the House Minority Whip, are also original co-sponsors.
    The measure is non-binding, but it adds to a chorus of strong public condemnation of the incident by senior members of Congress in both parties and highlighting concerns about how Erdogan's regime has treated those who disagree with its tactics.
    Pro-democracy activists have denounced Erdogan's human rights record after a referendum helped him consolidate power earlier this spring.
    Video emerged of the Turkish president and his wife at the scene of the violent incident at the ambassador's home raising questions about whether he personally was involved in instigating the confrontation between security and protestors.
    "We are introducing this bipartisan resolution today to make it clear that last week's unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters by Turkish security forces on American soil must not go unanswered and that those responsible must face justice," the four House members said in a joint written statement.
    They added strong criticism calling out the Turkish president by name, saying that "the attack last week against the protesters fell into a pattern of similar behavior by the Erdogan government and sent a dangerous message that this ideology of suppression has a place among the NATO powers, an alliance built to protect democracy and basic rights against those who would impose the opposite upon the world."
    The House foreign affairs committee is expected to take up the measure at its meeting Thursday. McCarthy's spokesman told CNN that if the resolution passes the committee this week, then the House is expected to vote on the resolution in early June.
    CNN obtained a copy of the resolution from a congressional source. It states that "those Turkish officials blatantly suppressed the First Amendment rights of United States citizens, and multiple armed Turkish security officials beat, kicked, and choked unarmed demonstrators."
    It also notes that two Turkish security officials who were detained by local law enforcement were later allowed to be released and leave the country because they held diplomatic immunity.
    The resolution calls on the State Department to withdraw any diplomatic immunity for those involved.
    Saying that "the Turkish security forces acted in an unprofessional and brutal manner, reflecting poorly on President Erdogan and the Government of Turkey," the measure recommends that both the US Secret Service and Diplomatic Security Service review the incident and discuss it in advance of any future visits from Turkish delegations.