Crenshaw Leads Bipartisan Delegation Seeking Protection For Erdogan Protesters

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Dan Crenshaw was joined by a delegation of 40 members, including Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), in sending two letters to ensure the safety of Americans demonstrating against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the nation’s capital. The letters, one sent to the U.S Department of State and the other sent to the Metro Police Department of the District of Columbia, asked each entity to protect Americans’ rights to assemble and speak out against Erdogan as well as ensure their safety while doing so.

The effort to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights is necessary after Erdogan’s 2017 visit, which resulted in 19 people being indicted for attacking peaceful protesters. Fifteen of the 19 were identified as Turkish security officials. Video captured them beating a small group of protesters, which included women and elderly men. Eleven protesters were injured, nine of which were taken to the hospital. Erdogan’s security officials also attacked American law enforcement officers. Diplomatic Security special agents, U.S. Secret Service officers and a Metro Police officer suffered injuries from the outbreak.

“As a veteran, I know the sacrifices made by our military to protect America and its values abroad,” said Crenshaw. “One of those core values is freedom of speech and assembly. It should be respected by all Americans, but especially by any visiting foreign leader. While Erdogan has rejected these freedoms in Turkey, he and his security detail must abide by them here. His ability to act as an authoritarian ruler ends when he sets foot on American soil.

“The United States Constitution guarantees the right of free assembly and free speech. I stand with these protestors and encourage law enforcement to provide all the necessary safeguards against violence,” said Pallone. “It’s absurd that a sitting American President has invited a leader who promotes human rights abuses. Let’s show President Erdogan how a real democracy works and protect the individuals who are lawfully protesting the Turkish dictator and his autocratic regime.”

The following Representatives cosigned the letters: Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Rick Crawford (R-AR), French Hill (R-AR), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), John Rutherford (R-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jim Banks (R-IN), Mike Johnson (R-LA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Don Bacon (R-NE), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Greg Murphy (R-NC), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Mark Walker (R-NC), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Pete Olson (R-TX), Will Hurd (R-TX), Brian Babin (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), Liz Cheney (R-WY)

To read the letter to the State Department, click here (letter to the State Department). To read the letter to the D.C. Metro Police Department, click here.