Amendment on gun sale to Turkey adopted

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Representative Dave Trott’s (R-MI) amendment on a proposed gun sale to Turkey was adopted as part of the overall bill, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The amendment stated: “It is the sense of Congress that the proposed sale of semiautomatic handguns for export to Turkey should remain under scrutiny until a satisfactory and appropriate resolution is reached,” in light of the Turkish security guards attack against peaceful protesters in our nation’s capital.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen our NATO allies take extraordinary steps against Turkey, and it’s time for the State Department to do the same. We need to block this arms sale and once and for all point a finger in Erdogan’s chest and tell him that a strategic location does not place Turkey above the law,” Rep. Trott said. “Just two months ago, Erdogan’s henchmen, with him complacently observing just feet away, launched a brutal attack on peaceful protestors exercising their first amendment rights. A notorious oppressor of basic human rights and freedom, Erdogan imported his nefarious attitudes to our nation’s capital. While Erdogan’s thugs may run unchecked in Ankara, this is the United States of America and this is totally unacceptable,” he added.

Rep. Trott’s amendment to H.R. 2810 highlighted concerns that “the security force that participated in this violence may be the recipient of arms exported from the United States under a proposed deal.” The amendment builds on the unanimous passage last month of H. Res. 354, which condemned the violence that took place outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16 and called on the perpetrators to be brought to justice under U.S. law.

In its letter to the House Rules Committee this week, the Assembly strongly supported the Congressman’s amendment and urged its adoption. Approval by the Rules Committee paved the way for its adoption by the full House of Representatives.

“The Armenian Assembly commends Rep. Trott for his ongoing efforts to hold Turkey accountable for its actions. Adoption of this amendment sends a strong message that the United States will not let its democratic values be trampled upon by a foreign government,” said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.

In addition to his amendment, Rep. Trott spearheaded a bi-partisan letter last month with 36 Members of Congress to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposing an anticipated gun sale to Turkey. “We can no longer enable Turkey to compromise our democratic values, and this proposed arms sale is nothing short of an endorsement of the actions of President Erdogan’s security force. As such, we strongly urge you to reject this proposed sale and any potential weapons transfer to President Erdogan’s security detail,” the letter stated.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.