June 15, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918

ANCA Comment On the Latest Arrests and Charges Filed Against Perpetrators of May 16 Erdogan-Ordered Attacks

WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian offered the following statement in the wake of the latest updates provided by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue regarding the May 16th assault on peaceful protesters, carried out by Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s bodyguards and various Turkish government supporters.

“The May 16th Erdogan-ordered attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington DC were not only a brutal assault on American citizens but on our fundamental first amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. “We commend the efforts of Mayor Bowser, Chief Newsham and all the law enforcement agencies involved in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and look forward to continuing to work with them to identify all involved. Law enforcement is doing its part; now it’s time for the Trump Administration to take action and demand that Turkey lift any claims to diplomatic immunity for those involved in this crime, so that criminal proceedings can move forward and justice can be served.”

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian is available for interviews by phone at (202) 369-5373.

ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian was at the press conference and can be reached at (703) 585-8254 orelizabeth@anca.org.

Background:

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 New York Times coverage is available here:

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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