U.S. lawmakers call for added security for anti-Erdoğan protestors

A bipartisan group of legislatures are calling for increased security to protect protestors demonstrating against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit on Wednesday, the Hill reported. 

A coalition of Greek, Kurdish, Assyrian and Christian human rights groups are preparing to protest the Turkish president, whose last visit to Washington was marred by his his security detail attacking protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.

Fifteen members of Erdoğan’s security team were accused of beating peaceful protesters in Washington in May 2017. U.S. prosecutors dropped charges against 11 of the 15 security guards in the incident that launched national headlines, sparking outrage among members of the U.S. Congress.

Lawmakers, in two separate letters, have criticised Turkish security officers who attacked protestors during Erdoğan’s 2017 Washington visit and asked law enforcement to ensure the safety of those speaking out against the Turkish president, the Hill said.

Erdoğan arrived in the United States on Tuesday and is set to meet with his U.S. counterpart amid soaring tensions between the NATO allies over Syria and Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system.

A total of 40 lawmakers, led by Republican conference chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), have signed the letters, it said.