- By Colum Lynch
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. national security advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s security detail got into a violent brawl on Friday with U.N. security guards outside the General Assembly hall, leaving at least two U.N. personnel injured, including one who was taken to the hospital, possibly with broken ribs, according to U.N. diplomats and officials.
The altercation occurred as Erdogan, who was at a meeting on a floor above the U.N. General Assembly entrance, learned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was about to begin his historic speech announcing his bid to become a U.N. member state.
The Turkish leader tried to rush to get into the U.N. chamber to take his seat.
Erdogan and his entourage, however, were stopped at an exit near the meeting room and told they could not enter the hall from that exit. The Turkish guards demanded that their prime minister be allowed to pass, and allegedly pushed the U.N. security guards. The U.N. guards pushed back, and the Turks apparently began swinging. One diplomat who was working on the floor two stories below said he could hear the fighting.
Within minutes, U.N. police radioed for help, sending reinforcements rushing to the scene from outside the General Assembly and from the U.N. Security Council, where police radios blared "security breach, security breach," according to a diplomat.
The U.N., meanwhile, sealed off the entrance to the U.N. General Assembly hall, according to another diplomat who had just left the building when the fight broke out. They also evacuated a working area just outside the General Assembly chamber, forcing diplomats out into the pouring rain, according to diplomats.
It remained unclear whether Erdogan ever made it to Abbas’s speech. But the two leaders met shortly after the speech for a bilateral meeting on Palestinian-Turkish relations. During the meeting, tensions flared up again after a member of the Turkish delegation spotted a top U.N. security official. There are sharply differing accounts of what happened then, with one official saying that fighting broke out again, and another saying that it stopped at raised voices.
The U.N. is seeking to prevent the incident, first reported by Inner City Press, from developing into a major international dispute, and is expected to issue a statement that will try to put the matter behind them.
Update: More details on the brawl here.
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