Heard on the Hill

Congressmen Might Join Protesters Outside Turkish Embassy

And they might need some bail money

Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, left, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., right, shown here talking to then-Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., proposed recessing from the House Foreign Affairs markup to protest at the Turkish Embassy.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressmen encouraged protesters who were attacked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail in Washington last week to keep on protesting, and said they might join them.

“Do it again, keep protesting and stay out there because no foreign tyrant has the right or the ability to drive them away,” Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said at a House Foreign Affairs markup on Thursday. “You might find Mr. Meeks out there with them and myself as well.”

Poe was referring to Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., who had earlier in the markup condemned the violence.

The committee was looking at a bill condemning the violence against protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence, and calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice and taking measures to avoid future incidents.

Video of the incident showed Turkish security police attacking the protesters and scuffling with D.C. police as they tried to stop the attacks. At least nine people were injured in the melee, according to media accounts.

“If the protesters return to the Turkish Embassy, as [Poe] just suggested, they do in order to, number one, draw attention to this monstrous attack on American soil of Americans by these goons from Turkey. If they do that, will you go with them and join them for a few minutes?” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked.

Poe responded, “Yes, let’s go together. We’ll bring Congressman Meeks with us as well. Maybe we should just recess over to the Turkish Embassy.”

Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., later joked on the possibility of his colleagues getting arrested, which drew laughs.

 “I want to know if Mr. Rohrabacher is going to be soliciting contributions for bail money for himself and the rest of the members that will be doing the protesting at the Turkish embassy,” Cook said.

— Michael Teitelbaum contributed to this report.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.