June 14, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel. (202) 775-1918

BREAKING: ANCA Calls on Trump Administration to Demand Turkey Waive Diplomatic Immunity for Bodyguards Involved In DC Attacks

-- Charges Against A Dozen of Erdogan Security Detail Imminent, Reports The New York Times

  • Turkish American businessman Eyup Yildirim was among two arrested by Metropolitan Washington DC Police in conjunction with the May 16th Erdogan-ordered beating of peaceful protesters. The New York Times had identified Yildirim among the attackers in a June 4th expose.

WASHINGTON, DC – According to The New York Times, U.S. law enforcement are set to charge a dozen of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail on Thursday in connection with the May 16th brutal attack on peaceful protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC. Two arrests of Turkish Americans Eyup Yildirim, an owner of a construction company in New Jersey, and Sinan Narin, a Virginia resident were made by law enforcement earlier today. Two Canadians of Turkish origin were also charged in the incident.

“American law enforcement is doing its job,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Now it’s time for the Trump Administration to demand that Turkey lift all claims to diplomatic immunity for those involved in this crime so that justice can be served.”

According to Nick Fandos of The New York Times, “The Washington police have been investigating the May 16 incident along with the State Department and the Secret Service. The police planned to announce the charges at a news conference on Thursday morning, according to the two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the charges before they were made public.”

The ANCA’s Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16th attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with representatives of The Atlantic Council, a leading think tank in Washington, DC which receives funding from Turkey. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters – elderly men and several women – who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.

Hamparian testified before a May 25th Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on this matter. Joining him at the hearing were Ms. Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Ezidi Relief Fund; Mr. Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer; and Ms. Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Usoyan and Yusa were victims of the brutal assault on May 16th by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

On June 6th, with a vote of 397 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously condemned Turkey in response to the attacks, taking a powerful stand against Ankara’s attempts to export its violence and intolerance to America’s shores. H.Res.354, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), has received the public backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). A companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

The House vote follows broad-based Congressional outrage expressed by over 100 Senate and House members through public statements, social media, and a series of Congressional letters.

Senate and House members have also raised concerns about the recently announced $1.2 million sale of semi-automatic guns slated for use by Turkish President Erdognan’s security detail, many of whom participated in the May 16th attacks. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D-MD) and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce have already objected to the sale.

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Dave Trott (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) are urging colleagues to co-sign a letter to Secretary Tillerson to block the gun sale to Turkey. To contact legislators to cosign the letter, visit: anca.org/NoGunsForTurkey

ANCA live footage of the attack served as source video for CNN, AP, The Washington Post, The Daily Caller and other major media, transforming the violent incident into a global spotlight on Erdogan’s attempt to export his intolerance and aggression to American shores.

The Sunday, June 4th edition of The New York Times featured a two-page center-spread investigative report on the May 16th attack, with online version of the coverage translated to Turkish and shared widely on social media. The report identified Yildirim and Narin as having participated in the attacks. The ANCA is cited by The New York Times as a source for this report.

The May 16th protest in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence was a continuation of a demonstration held earlier in the day in front of the White House, co-hosted by the ANCA. As President Trump met with President Erdogan. human rights and religious rights groups were joined by representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi and Armenian communities to call attention to the Erdogan regime’s escalating repression against free press, the Kurdish and other ethnic communities, as well as Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide.

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