WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, today released the following statement on the dismissal of charges against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team accused in last year’s beating of demonstrators in Washington:
We have just learned that, over the last few months, U.S. prosecutors have quietly dropped charges against 11 out of 15 of President Erdogan’s thugs who, as a result of video and other photographic images, were accused of beating up pro-democracy demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence last May. The brutal attack resulted in at least nine demonstrators sent to the hospital. A police officer and two Secret Service members also were hurt.
I have met some of the injured demonstrators and I am prompted to share my disgust that a grave injustice has been done. In the hearing I conducted on the violent clash, their testimony and the images shown were simply too outrageous too be dismissed by prosecutorial missteps or used as bargaining chips to ease tensions between our two countries. Indeed, we now learn that, before he left office, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking privately with the Turkish government, brought up the unannounced dismissals as evidence of our government’s intentions to relax our relationship with Erdogan’s tyrannical, terrorist-supporting regime.
If this is as it appears, the decision sends exactly the wrong signal to Erdogan, who is aligning his authoritarian government with radical Islamists and who carries out the same sort of brutal attacks on his own citizens as he allowed, within his sight, to be committed on American soil. This outrage must not go unpunished.