Turkey’s strongman Erdogan fuming over ‘scandalous’ US indictment of his security team

After viewing video of Erdogan’s security detail viciously assaulting protesters during an official White House visit this past May, 21 counts of assault and/or hate crimes were leveled against his bodyguards by Washington DC district attorney.



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday criticized the indictment in Washington of members of his security detail who were charged with assaulting protesters during an official White House visit in May.

US police are deployed in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington during President Erdogan’s visit on Tuesday May 16, 2017 – ديف كلارك (اف ب)

A total of 19 people including Turkish security officials have been identified from video footage of the May 16 clashes with Kurdish protesters following a meeting between Erdogan and President Donald Trump.

Erdogan said in a televised address that the case was a “scandalous demonstration of how American justice works.”

More names were added to the case this week after US officials said videos showed Turkish security agents beating and kicking protesters on the ground in the “Embassy Row” section of downtown Washington DC.

Ankara’s foreign minister reacted angrily, protesting “in the strongest terms that such an unjust and biased indictment, with names of people that have never been to the US, has been accepted.”

It said it had conveyed its reaction to the US ambassador to Ankara.

A total of 21 counts of assault and hate crimes based on the victims’ ethnicity were leveled against the group by Washington DC district attorney Channing Phillips.

All but two of the 19 “security personnel and supporters of Erdogan” remain at large. Two Turkish-American businessmen were arrested in June for their roles in the clash with protesters.

Of the 17 others, two are Canadians, and the remaining are Turkish citizens.

Relations between Ankara and Washington have been strained over the US arming Syrian Kurdish militia fighting against the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

The clashes during Erdogan’s visit exacerbated tensions between the NATO allies, with the Turkish leader accusing US police of having allowed “terrorists” to protest “50 meters from me”.

The Turkish foreign ministry repeated Ankara’s criticisms of “serious negligence” by US security authorities who did not “secure our delegation’s safety”.


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