Ankara summons US ambassador
Turkey has summoned the US ambassador to complain about the behaviour of Washington security personnel during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit that turned violent (pictured) when his security personnel beat up protesters outside the Turkish embassy.
Videos of Erdogan’s bodyguards pushing past Washington DC police, including repeatedly kicking a man who lay on the ground, outside the diplomatic residence as Erdogan looked on, sparked condemnation from the US Congress with Republican Senator John McCain saying Turkey’s ambassador should be “thrown out”.
Washington DC police said Erdogan’s staff savagely attacked the peaceful protest outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Erdogan’s visit. Turkish guards kicked and choked protesters as the police appear unsure about how much force to use. Erdogan can be seen watching, from a distance, as the fighting raged.
Turkey says it has reported a verbal and written protest at the behaviour of US security personnel, saying they were “aggressive and unprofessional” and “contrary to diplomatic rules and practices”. The police can be seen occasionally using batons while the peaceful protesters are attacked and officers pushed aside.
“It has been formally requested that the US authorities conduct a full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation,” Ankara’s foreign ministry said.
Kurdish activists were among the protesters on May 16 with some holding signs in support of Selahattin Demirtas, the co-leader of a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey, who is currently in jail and facing prosecution. Others held the flag of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the US-backed Syrian Kurdish force.
Tensions have risen between the US and Turkey as Washington has backed Kurdish militants in their fight against so-called Islamic State in northern Syria. Turkey says the YPG is affiliated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK, which is labelled a terrorist organisation by Ankara, US and European Union.
The Obama White House backed the YPG with air support and Donald Trump pledged to directly arm the Kurdish militia to help it attack Isis’s de facto capital of Raqqa.
The US has refused to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the preacher living in exile in Pennsylvania who leads a movement Turkey claims to have plotted the botched July 15 coup attempt, leading to around 50,000 arrests in a subsequent purge.
Picture credit: YouTube