U.S. rejects proposal for Turkish guards to buy guns

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A purchase of American-made weapons by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security guards was withdrawn by President Donald Trump’s administration. This came just after President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were both in New York for the U.N. General Assembly gathering.

As reported in The Associated Press, the refusal of purchase of the $1.2 million in U.S.-made weapons followed violence against protesters that occurred during Erdogan’s spring visit to Washington.

After the violent on-camera incident (outside the home of the Turkish ambassador to Washington) that occurred while Erdogan was visiting, U.S. lawmakers strongly opposed the sale. Nineteen people were indicted by a U.S. grand jury for attacking peaceful protesters, 15 of whom were identified as Turkish security officials

As told to Congress, the administration planned to allow New Hampshire gun maker Sig Sauer to sell the semi-automatic handguns and ammunition. Lawmakers from both parties have now asked the State Department to take extra precautions to ensure there’s not another violent incident during the U.N. gathering. This notification triggered a period in which Congress could review the deal before final approval is granted. The weapons would have gone to an intermediary in Turkey for use by Erdogan’s presidential security forces.

Several other incidents took place during visits of Turkish officials, raising serious questions about the behavior of Turkish security forces on American soil.

The U.S. had already put the sale on hold after the violence, and the Trump administration had informed the Turkish government that the sale wouldn’t be allowed to take place. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., wrote Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in June, asking him to reject the deal, calling the Turkish guards conduct “unprofessional and brutal.”

A Senate panel has also approved a measure that would block the sale. Sig Sauer informed Congress that he was formally withdrawing the planned sale.

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