Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) has released the following statement regarding members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security force attacking demonstrators outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC:
“Given Turkey’s movement towards an authoritarian government, President Erdoğan’s visit with the President in the West Wing is unsettling. President Erdoğan’s recent elimination of individual freedoms and jailing members of the press should not be rewarded by a visit to the Oval Office.
“To add injury to insult, it appears that a contingent of President Erdoğan’s security team unilaterally took violent action against peaceful demonstrators who were raising awareness of Turkey’s violations of human rights. The Turkish security guards clearly attacked the Armenian, Kurdish, Yezidi, and other human rights demonstrators, sending nine to the hospital.
“Sadly, it appears that history may be repeating itself. Many of us in recent weeks have seen the movie “The Promise,” which is an accurate historical portrayal of the Armenian genocide that took place beginning in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In the movie, we witnessed the beginnings of these acts of atrocity with the depiction of young, Turkish men beating innocent people. As we know, modern-day Turkey has been unwilling as a country to acknowledge the genocide ever happened. We cannot allow Tuesday’s violent and illegal behavior by the Turkish security guards to go unaddressed.
“The actions of the Turkish security guards are outrageous, and I condemn them. They violate both American law and deeply-held American values. The Turkish security guards must be held accountable.
“Our American President should take appropriate diplomatic and legal action against these Turkish thugs for their violence towards the Armenian, Kurdish, Yezidi, and other human rights demonstrators. If he does so, I believe he will find overwhelming bipartisan support in the US Congress.”