Paul Krekorian Urges Sec. of State Tillerson to Take Action against Erdogan Regime

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian (Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian (Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian (Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling on him to take “strong, unambiguous and meaningful action against the Erdogan regime” in response to the violent attack against peaceful protesters on May 16.

In addition to the letter, Krekorian introduced a resolution to the LA City Council, urging action from President Donald Trump and Tillerson.

“City of Los Angeles calls upon President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to make an appropriate and unambiguous response to the events of May 16, including (i) tangible diplomatic consequences to the Republic of Turkey and its ambassador to the United States; and (ii) identification and prosecution of all of the perpetrators of the criminal assault, and a finding that all foreign nationals determined to be responsible be declared persona non grata and removed from the United States,” reads part of the resolution.

Furthermore, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce on May 22 canceled the “Los Angeles Turkey Business Forum,” set for May 25, in response to last week’s attack in Washington.

Below is Krekorian’s letter to Secretary Tillerson.

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

As you know, on Tuesday, May 16, shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the White House, armed Turkish security personnel brutally attacked Americans who were peacefully protesting against Erdogan. After breaking through police lines set up by the outnumbered officers of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Secret Service, the Turkish Presidential Protection Department (“TPPD”) security forces violently beat women and elderly men to the ground and repeatedly kicked people in the head. At least 11 people were injured, including a police officer, and nine of them required hospitalization. All of these outrages occurred in our nation’s capital, in full view of President Erdogan and apparently with his personal approval, shortly after he met with the President of the United States.

This violent assault targeting peaceful, law-abiding Americans was a grotesque affront to American values by the thuggish agents of an autocratic Turkish regime. Such criminal conduct would be entirely intolerable under any circumstances, but especially in a democratic society such as ours. The fact that it actually involved the Turkish President’s own security personnel clearly demonstrates that the Turkish regime and its diplomatic missions hold American laws and constitutional principles in deep disdain.

This attack in Washington was shocking to the people of our country, but it should be no surprise. In Turkey, Erdogan has arrested 50,000 people since July 2016. Violence of the kind we witnessed on May 16 is quite commonplace in Turkey as a vehicle to silence dissent.

After such a despicable episode, the United States should have received a profound apology from its “ally,” along with assurances that those responsible would be held accountable. Instead, the Erdogan regime had the temerity to further insult our country by summoning Ambassador Bass for a scolding, referring to the courageous actions of U.S. law enforcement personnel as “unprofessional” and “aggressive,” and blaming the victims for exercising their constitutional rights.

Simply stated, the United States must take strong, unambiguous and meaningful action against the Erdogan regime in response to this outrage. This action should include, at minimum, the following: (i) summoning the Turkish ambassador to provide a full accounting of the circumstances of the event, and demanding a formal apology from the ambassador and President Erdogan; (ii) identification and prosecution of all of the perpetrators of the criminal assault; (iii) finding that all foreign nationals determined to be responsible, either directly or indirectly, be declared persona non grata, immediately removed from the United States and permanently refused reentry; (iv) suspending all training of TPPD agents and other Turkish protection officials by all U.S. federal agencies; and (v) re-evaluating Turkey’s status as an ally of the United States, including a significant reduction in, or suspension of, the amount of foreign and military aid to Turkey.

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