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Liz Cheney Backs Barring Erdogan Bodyguards Who Assaulted Protesters from U.S. Reentry

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) called on the State Department Monday to ban the bodyguards of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan who assaulted protesters in a 2017 incident in Washington, D.C. from reentering the U.S.

In May 2017, members of the Turkish Presidential Protection Department (TPPD), Turkey’s equivalent of the Secret Service, attacked pro-Kurdish protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador. The assault, in which protesters and American law-enforcement officials were injured, was captured on video.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Cheney requested that “none of the people who were in the United States with President Erdoğan in 2017 and participated in physical attacks on American citizens—including those protesting lawfully, our secret service, our diplomatic service, and our law enforcement officials—will be allowed into the United States again this week.”

“At least eleven people were injured throughout the day, including law enforcement personnel who every day defend Americans’ constitutional rights and physical safety,” Cheney wrote.

The letter comes in advance of a planned White House visit by Erdogan this Wednesday.

TPPD agents have a history of confrontational incidents on U.S. soil. In 2016, TPPD officers attacked journalists at a Brookings Institution event, and in 2011, they attacked U.N. security personnel at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Pompeo on Monday said that President Trump will raise the topic of Turkey’s recent invasion of Syria in his meeting with Erdogan.

“We will talk about what transpired there and how we can do our level best collectively to ensure the protection of all of those in Syria, not just the Kurds, but everyone in Syria,” Pompeo told cadets at The Citadel after delivering a Veterans Day speech.

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