Armenian group to protest Erdoğan-Trump meeting in Washington next week
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called on supporters to join a protest before the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Nov. 13.
Erdoğan will arrive in Washington on Wednesday to discuss with Trump the ongoing situation in northern Syria as well as other issues that have soured relations between the two allies, including potential sanctions to be imposed on Turkey’s state-run Halkbank for evading U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The Turkish president’s meeting with Trump will take place after the U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a resolution recognising the mass deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide.
The protestors will gather at Lafayette Park across the White House, according to a poster shared by the ANCA on Twitter.
The call for protest accuses Erdoğan of a long list of issues including destroying democracy, desecrating churches, invading Syria, killing Kurds and denying genocide.
See you at the park. pic.twitter.com/pZ48O7esI4— ANCA (@ANCA_DC) November 8, 2019
Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish-controlled territories in northern Syria on Oct. 9, after Trump announced that he had decided to withdraw American troops in the region. The offensive ended in nine days as Turkey made two separate agreements with the United States and Russia for the withdrawal of Kurdish militia in the region 30 km south from the border.
The ANCA teamed up with Greek-American, Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac-American, Kurdish-American, Arab-American and other human rights groups for the protest on Wednesday.
U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw has called on his colleagues to join him in asking the State Department and the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department “to ensure President Erdoğan and his security detail are aware of and understand that Americans enjoy First Amendment rights to assembly and speech,” the ANCA reported.
The letters to be sent separately by members of the U.S. Congress to the State Department’s Chief of Protocol and the Metropolitan Police Department will refer to the incident when “during past visits by the Turkish President, Americans exercising their First Amendment rights were assaulted by pro-Erdoğan protesters and President Erdoğan’s security detail.”
In May 2017, 15 members of Erdoğan’s security team were accused of beating peaceful protesters in Washington. U.S. prosecutors dropped charges against 11 of the 15 security guards in the incident that launched national headlines, sparking outrage among members of the U.S. Congress.