ANKARA—The resolution that passed unanimously on Tuesday condemning last month’s attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington by the Turkish president’s guards has rattled nerves in Ankara, prompting the Turkish Foreign Ministry to issue a statement calling the measure “against spirit of alliance” between Turkey and the United States.
“The steps taken by the U.S. legislative branches to distort and politicize the matter are not constructive. This is also against the spirit of alliance and partnership between Turkey and the U.S.,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ambassador Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said in a written statement on Wednesday, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
The bi-partisan resolution, which passed with a vote of 397-0, elicited praise from various congressional leaders, among them Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
“Today, the House sent an unequivocal message that violence against peaceful demonstrators will not be tolerated. The blame for this assault lies with the Turkish government alone. I urge Ankara to finally accept responsibility for this egregious incident and apologize to those who were harmed. With the leadership of Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and members on both sides of the aisle, our resolve to defend the First Amendment and condemn suppression is stronger than ever,” said Ryan after the passage of the resolution.
The Armenian National Committee of America was quick to counter the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s posturing on the matter.
“Erdogan’s claiming that Congressional condemnation of the attack he ordered on American protesters runs counter to the spirit of Turkey’s alliance with the U.S. – but what he’s really voicing is his frustration that the free pass that Ankara has long enjoyed here in Washington has been revoked,” said Aram Hamparian, the ANCA Executive Director.
“As much as he might like to resurrect Ankara’s old arrangements, it’s clear today that U.S. policy-makers – from both parties and in both the legislative and executive branches – won’t countenance a return to the days when Turkey crossed every line, confident that America would remain silent about its sins,” added Hamparian.
At least 11 people were injured on May 16 after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to order his bodyguards to attack a group of peaceful demonstrators gathered outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington to protest Turkey’s policies against its minorities, especially the regime’s treatment of the Kurds.
At the time, the State Department said in a statement that the conduct of Turkish security personnel during the incident was “deeply disturbing,” while the Turkish government summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara to discuss the “violent incidents.”
The beatings also raised the ire of many congressional leaders, with chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee John McCain calling for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador from the US.