The Cable

Turkey Blames D.C. Cops for Erdogan’s Thugs Pummeling Protesters

The statement comes after police charged 12 members of Erdogan’s security team.

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Turkey’s foreign ministry is blaming U.S. law enforcement personnel for the brawl outside of the Turkish Embassy that led Washington police to charge a dozen members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail with crimes.

After District of Columbia police announced the charges Thursday, Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara.

“It has been conveyed to the Ambassador that this decision taken by U.S. authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis; that the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the U.S. authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It later continued: “The decision, which clearly was not taken as a result of an impartial and independent investigation, is unacceptable.”

Metropolitan police see it differently, as do most independent observers of what occurred when Erdogan’s security detail charged protesters last month after the Turkish leader met with President Donald Trump. Turkish security personnel were videotaped rushing, then stomping, kicking, and punching protestors. Erdogan even got out of his car to briefly watch.

At a news conference Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Democrat, and Police Chief Peter Newsham outlined the charges against the men, who are believed to be in Turkey. Most legal experts don’t expect any of them to be sent back to the United States.

“I condemn this attack,” Bowser said, adding the city will “defend the First Amendment.”

In an affidavit, D.C. police wrote, “during the course of the official Turkish visit, Turkish security personnel and others assaulted protesters and U.S. law enforcement officers in at least three separate incidents.”

Yesterday, police arrested two other suspects: Sinan Narin of Virginia, charged with aggravated assault; and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey, charged with assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault.

Photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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