Turkey accuses United States of 'aggressive actions' over embassy brawl
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 29, 2017,
May 29, 2017, 19:06
Turkey's Foreign Ministry lodged a formal protest Monday with the USA ambassador over "aggressive" actions by American security personnel during a visit to Washington last week by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was marred by a violent clash between Turkish guards and protesters.
Turkey requested "a full investigation of this diplomatic incident", saying the actions of USA security personnel were "contrary to diplomatic rules and practices".
The U.S. State Department said in a statement the conduct of Turkish security personnel during the incident was "deeply disturbing".
The State Department has summoned the Turkish Ambassador who has stuck to his version of the facts: the security of President Erdogan, "attacked" by "terrorists", had to be ensured. "Freedom of speech and freedom to protest may be prohibited in Turkey and offensive to the Turkish President, but they are bedrock USA principles that must be safeguarded". Turkish bodyguards punched, kicked and stomped on protesters during the melee, as D.C. police officers beat back Mr. Ergodan's security team with batons and nightsticks in an effort to protect the protesters. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured. Two of Erdogan's guards were also briefly detained, but then released due to diplomatic immunity.
On Tuesday, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington to meet President Trump, Turkish security personnel attacked protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence.
Some U.S. lawmakers, including Arizona Sen.
Bass was on the receiving end of both written and verbal complaints about what Turkey described as the "aggressive and unprofessional actions" of American law enforcement toward the bodyguards, according to a report by The New York Times.
Two senior lawmakers wrote a letter to Erdogan last week calling on the White House to remove the Turkish ambassador to the USA for allowing the guards to interfere with the First Amendment rights of Americans.
Turkey considers the fighters to be an extension the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, and claims without evidence that protesters who showed up during Erdogan's visit to Washington last week were themselves associated with the PKK.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) wants the Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic thrown out of the country and blasted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for not taking quick action.
The bodyguards of Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were involved in a clash with protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence, the Turkish government said.
Erdogan's security detail has engaged in similar behaviour in the United States in the past and attacked protesters and journalists during a U.S. trip a year ago as well. This is Erdoğan's security detail. Turkey has been angered by the Trump administration's decision to arm a Kurdish force to fight the Islamic State militant group in Syria in partnership with the United States. Monday, Ankara summoned the USA ambassador and called for an investigation.