The New York Times on Thursday reported that last month’s brutal attack on protesters by members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security forces has jeopardized a $1.2 million deal for the purchase of semiautomatic handguns by Turkey for use by Erdogan’s security forces.
“With mounting outrage over the episode among American lawmakers and a continuing investigation by the State Department that could lead to criminal charges against some of the guards involved, the future of the sale now appears to be in question,” reported Nicholas Fandos for the New York Times.
According to the Times article, the State Department informed Congress a day before the attack that it was going to license the $1.2 million deal to Sig Sauer, the New Hampshire-based firearms maker, which would sell 1,600 semiautomatic pistols to a Turkish government-controlled intermediary the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Company, which according to the Times “the State Department describes as a Turkish-controlled group authorized to resell the weapons to the Department of Security of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.”
With the backlash the attack has received by lawmakers and the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s unanimous approval of proposed legislation to punish those involved with the attack last Friday, the deal seems to be in jeopardy but not completely off the table.
On Friday, The New York Times published an investigation of several videos from the incident, which clearly show that at least 24 of Erdogan’s guards, were involved in the attack.
In Thursday’s article in the Times, Fandos makes special reference to Senator John Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee who in a letter to the State Department opposed the sale of the arms.
“Senator Cardin is right to put the brakes on this proposed sale of U.S. fire-arms to Turkey, for use by President Erdogan’s bodyguards, right after the brutal March 16th attack by this same security detail against peaceful protesters here in Washington,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Suren Hamparian.
“This reckless sale should be cancelled and all arms sales or military aid to Turkey suspended until Erdogan has – at the very least – publicly apologized for the attack he ordered, waived immunity for those who beat American protesters, and ended his obstruction of justice for these crimes.”