Lawmakers in Congress are calling on the State Department to halt plans for New Hampshire gun manufacturer Sig Sauer to sell $1.2 million in semiautomatic pistols to the Turkish government.
This comes amid the fallout from a violent attack outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. last month. Video appears to show Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail attacking protestors.
The New York Times reports the State Department had informed Congress it had authorized the deal between Sig Sauer and the Turkish government on May 15, the day before that incident.
According to the Times, Sig Sauer was set to “sell some 1,600 pistols to a Turkish-government controlled intermediary, which in turn would sell them to the agency tasked with protecting the president.”
After the May 16 incident outside the Turkish embassy, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland expressed concern about the sale in a letter to the State Department, according to the Times. He’s the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Republican Rep. Edward Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also urged the State Department to block the deal.
In a statement to NHPR, New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen says she supports putting the deal on hold.
“I was very disturbed the violence committed by these guards against peaceful protestors,” Shaheen said. “As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I support the hold that has been put on this contract as we seek more information about the circumstances of this incident.”
According to the New York Times, the State Department has not yet responded to concerns raised about the sale or whether the deal will be scrapped. Sig Sauer also did not respond for comment.