Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues Co-Chairs Maloney and Bilirakis Lead Effort to Stop Arms Sale to Turkish Security Forces Responsible for Beating Peaceful D.C. Protesters

Jun 21, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, today led a bipartisan effort urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to block a small arms sale that would benefit the Turkish Presidential security guards who beat unarmed protesters last month in front of the Turkish Embassy. The Members were joined by eight of their colleagues in the House of Representatives on a letter to the Secretary.

In light of the brutal actions by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail against peaceful protesters last month, the Members argue that Secretary Tillerson should “reject the small arms sale of $1.2 million worth of semiautomatic handguns for the same security forces responsible for the attack. Preventing this sale sends a clear message that the U.S. will not turn a blind eye to such brutality against unarmed protesters. Such a sale must be contingent upon a resolution to the May 16 incident that includes holding the guards involved fully accountable.”

Full text of the letter below and a PDF is available here.

Dear Secretary Tillerson,

As you know, many members of Congress were outraged by the vicious attacks on peaceful protesters at the hands of the security detail of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, DC on May 16, 2017. On June 6, 2017, by a vote of 397-0, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning these brutal actions and calling on the State Department to hold the perpetrators accountable. We continue to urge that steps must be taken to ensure that these men are brought to justice and that similar incidents are prevented in the future.

In light of this truly disturbing event, we write to urge you to reject the small arms sale of $1.2 million worth of semiautomatic handguns for the same security forces responsible for the attack. Preventing this sale sends a clear message that the U.S. will not turn a blind eye to such brutality against unarmed protesters. Such a sale must be contingent upon a resolution to the May 16 incident that includes holding the guards involved fully accountable.

We hope that especially while your investigation into the events of May 16 is ongoing, you will not allow this arms sale to Turkish security forces to go forward. Thank you for your consideration on this important matter. 

Sincerely,

  • Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)
  • Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12)
  • Joseph Crowley (NY-14)
  • Theodore E. Deutch (FL-22)
  • James P. McGovern (MA-2)
  • Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6)
  • John P. Sarbanes (MD-3)
  • Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10)
  • Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25)
  • Dina Titus (NV-1)

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