There is pretty good evidence that President Erdogan himself ordered the attack of his security guards on protesters in Washington last week. Philip Bump of the Washington Post has a close analysis. I argue in my column today that we can’t just let this go:
The Trump administration is obviously not putting an emphasis on promoting our values abroad. But it’s one thing not to go on a democratizing crusade; it’s another to shrug off an assault on the rights of protesters on our own soil. If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s nationalism and sense of honor should be offended. Not only did the Turks carry out this attack, they are thumbing their noses at us by summoning our ambassador over it.
The Turkish goons who punched and kicked people should be identified and charged with crimes. They are beyond our reach, either because they are back in Turkey or have diplomatic immunity. But we should ask for them to be returned and for their immunity to be waived. When these requests are inevitably refused, the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. (heard saying during the incident, “You cannot touch us”) should be expelled.
Erdogan is crushing his opponents with impunity in Turkey. Reacting firmly to this attack at least will send the message, “Not in our house.”