WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the leading association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, welcomed news today that law enforcement officials have charged 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail for their roles in the brutal attack upon peaceful American protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, announced Supreme President Andrew C. Zachariades.
"Today’s announcement is a welcomed and positive development and the perpetrators of this brutal attack must be brought to justice. These charges follow last week’s rightful condemnation by the U.S. House of Representatives of the assault. Now the Department of State must act accordingly. We reemphasize our call for the Department of State to halt the proposed small-arms sale of some 1,600 semi-automatic handguns that will end-up in the hands of the very same Turkish security detail that committed this assault on the First Amendment Constitutional rights of American citizens on United States soil.
“Members of Congress are working to convey their objection to this small-arms sale. Today is the last day they can sign-on to a Congressional Hellenic Caucus-led letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that opposes the proposed sale. We call on the community to contact their U.S. representatives and ask that they sign-on to the Bilirakis-Maloney letter. We thank Representatives Bilirakis and Maloney for their initiative, and thank other congressional caucuses, such as the Congressional Armenian Caucus, for demonstrating the same initiative.”
Supreme President Zachariades sent a letter to Secretary Tillerson requesting a halt to the proposed sale on June 7, 2017.
“…if the State Department approves this proposed arms sale to the perpetrators of this brutal assault on American citizens, it condones the security detail’s thuggish actions and contradicts the strong and certain message of condemnation conveyed rightfully by the U.S. House of Representatives and you,” Zachariades wrote in his letter to Secretary Tillerson.
Supreme President Zachariades added his gratitude to House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) for his continued engagement on this important matter. The supreme president also thanked U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) for raising the attack with Secretary Tillerson at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, and specifically, getting the secretary on-the-record about the State Department’s position on the small-arms sale (video).
Representative Cicilline: Do you believe it's appropriate for the United States Government to sell weapons to the very same security forces who committed this attack?
Secretary Tillerson: It's under evaluation.
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Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, on the principles that undergirded its fight for civil rights and against discrimination, bigotry, and hatred felt at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
AHEPA's mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
For more information, please visit www.ahepa.org.