Lawmakers to Tillerson: Tell Turkish security not to fight at UN

Protest turns violent after Erdogan-Trump meet
Protest turns violent after Erdogan-Trump meet

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Story highlights

  • Lawmakers are asking State to instruct Turkish security not to start fights
  • Turkish security officials were involved in a brawl in Washington in May

(CNN)The heads of the House foreign affairs committee are asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to make it clear to the Turkish government that its staff shouldn't brawl in the streets of New York during next week's United Nations General Assembly.

House foreign affairs chairman Ed Royce and ranking Democrat Eliot Engel wrote a letter to Tillerson urging him to take steps to avoid "another violent incident involving the security detail of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or other Turkish officials."
"We must ensure that Turkish National Police and accompanying security personnel respect the laws of the United States and refrain from any aggressive actions that are unrelated to the protection of the Turkish president," the lawmakers wrote, urging the State Department to articulate the expectations to the "highest levels of the Turkish government.
    World leaders are descending on New York next week for the UN General Assembly.
    In May, Turkish security personnel were involved in a melee outside the Turkish ambassador's residence, with Erdogan looking on during the brawl. A grand jury returned indictments against 15 Turkish security officials and four others last week on charges of attacking protesters during the incident.
    The brawl was only the latest in a string of incidents in the US involving Turkish security officials. In March 2016, there were skirmishes with demonstrators and local police had to intervene outside the Brookings Institution while the Turkish president spoke inside.
    And a brawl occurred at the UN General Assembly in 2011 between Erdogan's security detail and UN security officers in the halls of the UN.
    The House passed a resolution in May condemning the attacks outside the Turkish ambassador's residence and it called on the State Department to "confirm with Turkish National Police the expectations for visiting security details and review operating procedures to prevent future violent incidents," according to the letter from Royce and Engel.