Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Dave Trott’s (R-MI)

Rep. Trott’s Measure to Stop Gun Sale to Turkey Cleared for House Vote

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WASHINGTON — US House Committee on Rules has cleared Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Dave Trott’s (R-MI) Turkey sanctions amendment for vote this week by the full House of Representatives, with three more measures, presented by Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) set for consideration by the panel.

The Trott Amendment opposes the $1.2 million sale of US semi-automatic handguns to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail, in response to their May 16 attack on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen our NATO allies take extraordinary steps against Turkey, and it’s time for the State Department to do the same,” said Trott. “We need to block this arms sale and once and for all point a finger in Erdogan’s chest and tell him that a strategic location does not place Turkey above the law.”

Trott went on to note that, “just two months ago, Erdogan’s henchmen, with him complacently observing just feet away, launched a brutal attack on peaceful protesters exercising their first amendment rights. A notorious oppressor of basic human rights and freedom, Erdogan imported his nefarious attitudes to our nation’s capital. While Erdogan’s thugs may run unchecked in Ankara, this is the United States of America and this is totally unacceptable.”

“We are pleased to see the Trott Amendment approved for US House consideration this week and look forward to the Rules Committee providing all of their House colleagues with the opportunity for an up or down vote on additional Turkey sanctions proposed by Reps. Cicilline, Rohrabacher, and Beyer,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian. ”

“Up on Capitol Hill, across the Washington, DC foreign policy community, and even among career Department of State and Pentagon officials, it’s increasingly clear that May 16th marked a watershed moment in US-Turkey relations — a defining, clarifying, deeply troubling anti-American episode that will, in the months and years to come, continue to inform key areas of engagement by US policymakers with their Turkish counterparts.”

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Beyer’s amendment would ban Erdogan’s security forces who took part in the May 16 attack from securing US visas for future travel to the United States. Beyer has been outspoken in condemning the brutal beatings, calling for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador to the US and signing multiple Congressional letters condemning the attacks.

Cicilline’s proposal would block a pending sale of F-35 jets to Turkey “until the President of the United States certifies that the Government of Turkey is cooperating with the criminal investigation and prosecution of Turkish Government employees involved in the assault on civilians in Washington, DC.” Cicilline has been outspoken in condemning the attacks, noting that “this was a particularly brazen act, on the heels of a highly-publicized meeting with our President, and one has to wonder why President Erdogan felt so emboldened, that in the bright D.C. sunshine, in front of cameras and hundreds of people, he sent his attack dogs out. As Secretary Tillerson said, this is simply unacceptable.”

Rohrabacher’s amendment would prohibit the transfer of US defense articles to Turkey and, instead, make them available to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who have played an instrumental role in the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Rep. Rohrabacher, who serves as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, presided over the hearings spotlighting the Erdogan-ordered attacks in May.

The ANCA’s Hamparian captured live videotape at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with representatives of The Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington, DC which receives Turkish funding. Hamparian’s video served as source footage for CNN, AP and other news outlets, transforming a violent incident into a global spotlight on Turkey’s violence, intolerance, and aggression.

Hamparian testified before a May 25 Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on this matter. Joining him at the hearing were Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Ezidi Relief Fund; Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer; and Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Usoyan and Yusa were victims of the brutal assault on May 16th by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

On June 6, with a vote of 397 to 0, the US House of Representatives unanimously condemned Turkey’s attack, taking a powerful stand against Ankara’s attempts to export its violence and intolerance to America’s shores. H.Res.354, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), has received the public backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). A companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

Topics: Turkey

“We commend Congressman Trott and his colleagues for this initiative and standing up for American values in light of such a flagrant disrespect for our cherished rights,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

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