The House voted to nix a deal that would arm Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail with American weapons to punish an attack on protestors in Washington, D.C.
"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. Dave Trott, R-Mich., said Friday.
Erdogan's team is in the process of buying approximately 1,600 semiautomatic sidearms from a New Hampshire-based gun company, a deal the State Department provisionally approved in May. Days later, Erdogan's security team assaulted protesters outside the Turkish embassy in D.C.
Trott attached an amendment to the defense authorization bill urging the State Department to hold the gun sale "under scrutiny [pending] a satisfactory and appropriate resolution" to that standoff.
"A notorious oppressor of basic human rights and freedom, Erdogan imported his callous attitudes to our nation's capital," Trott said. "While Erdogan's thugs may run unchecked in Ankara, this is the United States of America and this is totally unacceptable."
Erdogan's authoritarian leanings have troubled and stymied Western leaders, whose efforts to encourage democratic reforms in Turkey have been hampered by the pressing foreign policy problems. Republican and Democratic lawmakers have asked President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to issue high-profile rebukes and retaliation for the attack on the protestors, but the administration is working instead to strengthen ties to Erdogan in the midst of a campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Syria.
"I think our relationship here in Turkey, which has been under some stress for some time — I hope we are beginning to put it on the mend," Tillerson said Monday during an address to State Department employees in Istanbul.