A measure approved Thursday by a Senate committee would block the U.S. government from supporting the sale of weapons to security forces protecting Turkey's president, NY Times reported.
The amendment approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee is part of a continuing U.S. response to violence against peaceful protesters carried out by bodyguards traveling with the Turkish president during a visit to Washington this spring.
Bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attacked peaceful protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in the US capital city on May 16.
A total of 19 people, including 15 identified as Turkish security officials, have been indicted on felony charges in the incident, which has complicated already tense relations between the U.S and Turkey.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who co-sponsored the amendment with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the vote by the appropriations panel sent "a strong, bipartisan message: We are not going to let President Erdogan's personal bodyguards attack peaceful American protesters on American soil — and we're certainly not going to sell them weapons while they do it."
Van Hollen said he and Leahy will work with the State Department to ensure that the Turkish National Police also are held accountable for their actions. The police have assisted Erdogan in suppressing dissent, Van Hollen said.