WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led a bipartisan letter to President Trump today calling on the administration to urge Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to stop harassing American diplomats, to respect human rights, and to uphold democratic values in Turkey.
Citing several recent actions including the arbitrary arrest of several U.S. Consulate employees in Istanbul, the detention of top Amnesty International officials, the sentencing by a Turkish court of Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, and the brutal attack by Turkish security personnel of peaceful demonstrators protesting Erdogan’s visit to Washington, D.C., the senators urged President Trump to demand the Erdogan government respect human rights and the rule of law.
“Erdogan and his allies have corroded Turkey’s democracy by mounting an assault on the rule of law, using sweeping state of emergency authorities to stifle fundamental rights including free speech, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and quashing any expressions of opposition,” wrote the senators. “We urge you to send a clear message to President Erdogan that the United States will not tolerate this type of behavior and that any cooperation must be based on a shared commitment to human rights and rule of law.”
The letter was co-signed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martin Heinrich (R-NM), Edward Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Bernard Sanders (I-VT).
The letter could be read here.