Lawmakers Want Turkey To Pay For D.C. Violence. But So Far It’s U.S. Residents Facing Charges.
WASHINGTON ― Washington officials want Turkey to pay a price for its presidential security detail’s alleged role in beating up anti-government protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said the Turkish ambassador should be asked to leave the U.S., and the day before, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to explore bringing criminal charges against the men captured on video attacking demonstrators.
“Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior,” Royce wrote in a letter on Wednesday. There’s bipartisan agreement on the issue: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) have directly accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s team of a role in the violence, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) echoed Royce’s call in a statement. “If Erdoğan bodyguards who participated in this attack have entered the country on diplomatic visas, those visas should be revoked right away,” she said. The State Department has reportedly summoned the Turkish ambassador for a meeting to discuss the clashes.
But as of Thursday, the only two people facing consequences related to the incident are private citizens who have starkly different views of Erdogan. Jalal Kheirabadi, 42, a Kurdish American of Iranian descent who lives in Fairfax, Virginia, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to assaulting a police officer. Necmi Ayten, 49, a Turkish Erdogan supporter who traveled from his home in Woodside, New York, to welcome the Turkish president, pleaded not guilty to assaulting a protester. […]