On May 16, a group of peaceful protesters made-up of Armenians, Kurdish, Yezidi and human rights advocates, was brutally attacked by supporters and bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
What separated this assault from countless other oppressive measures by President Erdogan is that it happened on U.S. soil in the heart of our Capitol. Reminiscent to the mob violence against the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, Turkish-American hooligans and members of the president’s security detachment bowled over the outmanned D.C. police force to beat-up the protestors, leaving a dozen injured and two in need of hospitalization.
In response, the House of Representatives unanimously (by a 397-0 vote) passed HR 354 condemning the attack and calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators under U.S. law. Hopefully, HR 354 will result in bringing the assailants to justice and holding Erdogan accountable in some way.
As any Armenian, Kurd, Greek, Assyrian, Turkish dissident ot human rights worker can tell you, a strongly worded message without meaningful action, far from being a sign of strength, is a clear show of weakness on the part of the U.S. It encourages such acts to continue. No one understands that better than Mr. Erdogan himself.
Randy Baloian, Fresno