Turkey slams USA for 'aggressive actions' against Erdogan's bodyguards
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 26, 2017,
May 26, 2017, 2:06
Turkey summoned the USA ambassador on Monday to protest "aggressive behaviour" by American security personnel and "security lapses" during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington last week. The footage also showed that Erdogan was watching, from a distance, as the fighting raged. "This kind of behavior by a foreign security detail is reprehensible and can not be tolerated".
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's May 16 visit to the white House, which was reported as a renewal of strong ties between Turkey and the United States following Ankara's condemnation of U.S. military support for Syrian Kurdish groups fighting Deach, was rather eclipsed by a brawl involving members of the Turkish President's bodyguards and pro-Kurdish activists.
An official at the State Department said the pitched battle was being investigated. Another video shows Erdogan himself watching the protest after emerging from his vehicle in the ambassador's driveway.
The development came as more than 220 suspects, including over two dozen Turkish former generals, went on trial on Monday accused of being among the ringleaders of last year's attempted coup against Mr Erdogan. Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy say there could be "potential implications for assistance to Turkey" if the unseemly incident isn't taken seriously by Ankara.
This came during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Washington visit - one in which Erdogan and President Trump held a joint press conference and discussed a mutually beneficial relationship between the two nations.
Turkey blamed the violence on supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who picked on pro-Erdogan US-based Turks. Others held the flag of the People's Protection Units, or YPG, the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish force.
In a statement Monday, the Turkish foreign ministry alleged that USA security personnel had taken "aggressive and unprofessional actions".
Turkey has summoned the United States ambassador to protest the detention of two security officers during the Turkish president's Washington visit last week.
"It has been formally requested that the USA authorities conduct a full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation", the government statement continued.
Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, called the event "deeply disturbing" and said concerns have been raised about it at the highest levels, the Washington Post notes.
The brawl has added to the USA and Turkey's already strained ties.
Turkish police detained them because they feared "that their protest could turn into death fasts and new Gezi protests", Selcuk Kozagacli, a lawyer representing the teachers said. Their letter to Ambassador Serdar Kilic is dated May 18 but wasn't released until Monday.
And a group of nearly 30 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of NY wrote Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday demanding that the Turkish guards be "arrested, prosecuted and jailed". "It was disappointing to see friends of PKK on the streets of Washington, D.C".