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Over 70 lawmakers urge Biden to hold Turkey accountable for Sheridan Circle violence

The 2017 attack by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail in Washington injured several protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.
Members of the Secret Service stand guard as people wave Turkish flags during a rally in front of the White House in Washington,DC on May 16, 2017.

More than 70 members of the US Congress have signed a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the State Department to press Turkey for justice and accountability over the 2017 attack by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail in Washington. The attack injured numerous protesters, some of them gravely, outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Sheridan Circle, in an incident that wrecked Ankara’s image in the United States and illustrated its impunity at home and abroad.

The letter shared exclusively with Al-Monitor that was due to be delivered Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. EST recalled that Turkey has sought to dodge legal charges brought by two separate plaintiffs — Murat Yasa, an ethnic Kurdish man, and Lusik Usoyan, a Yazidi woman — on the grounds that it enjoys diplomatic immunity and that its appeal was rejected after being reviewed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and rejected outright by the Supreme Court in keeping with the opinions of the Biden administration. “With its loss before the Supreme Court, Turkey has abandoned the … litigation, thus demonstrating its intention to avoid any and all accountability to the plaintiffs,” the bipartisan group of lawmakers said.

The bipartisan letter includes heavyweights such as Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, a two-time House majority leader, and 10 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The lawmakers also recalled that Congress had unanimously passed a resolution in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and had made “the unequivocal declaration that such acts perpetrated by foreign actors on American soil against Americans, cannot and will not be tolerated — that there must be consequences.” 

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