Hultgren demands response to Turkish security detail's 'assault'
"Remorseless acts of violence" committed by Turkish personnel against American citizens cannot go unpunished, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and 39 of his colleagues said in a letter to the U.S. attorney general and secretary of state recently.
The group is demanding the expulsion of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's security personnel after they attacked American and legal residents engaged in peaceful protests during Erdogan's visit to the United States on May 16.
“This may be how they deal with dissenters in Turkey, but here in America that’s against the law,” Hultgren said, according to a statement. “Our country is founded on the rights of free speech and freedom of peaceful assembly. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security team’s brazen, physical assault on American citizens and legal residents peacefully protesting his policies is outrageous and follows a disturbing pattern. Foreign leaders, diplomats and staff are invited guests of our nation, and they should act as such. All of those involved — at all levels — must be held accountable.”
The letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pointed out that the protesters were exercising their First Amendment rights in protesting outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence. It demanded that the Turkish personnel involved in the unlawful attacks be expelled and those who are not based in the United States be barred from entering the country again.
The incident was not the first time that Turkish security personnel have assaulted U.S. citizens. On March 31, 2016, Erdogan's security team attempted to remove some journalists from an event at which Erdogan was speaking about challenges in the Middle East.