Turkey summons US ambassador
Ankara accuses US over aftermath of protest
Turkey has summoned the US ambassador in the aftermath of last week’s brawl in Washington DC which left nine people hospitalized.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry protested to John Bass on Monday to object to the way the situation was handled by US officials.
In a statement, the ministry said Turkey was protesting against the “aggressive and unprofessional actions taken” by US security personnel.
Turkey said that the “lapses of security” during Erdogan’s stay were “caused by the inability of US authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program.”
Late last week, new footage emerged showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looking on as Turkish security officials beat up protesters outside the country’s embassy in Washington.
Erdogan, who met with US President Donald Trump at the White House just hours before the fighting broke out last Tuesday, briefly witnessed the brawl after stepping out of his car.
A senior State Department official told CNN that the Turkish officials involved in the fight appeared to be a mix of Turkish embassy staff and Erdogan’s personal guards.
The Turkish embassy claimed that the protesters were “affiliated with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)” – a banned separatist group in Turkey – and had assembled without permission.
The protesters “began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President,” the embassy said in a statement released late Wednesday.
Turkish Ambassador to the US Serdar Kılıç was summoned to the State Department last week, the State Department official said.
“The conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing,” the State Department official said.
“The State Department has raised its concerns about these events at the highest levels and a thorough investigation that will allow us to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of the utmost importance to us.”
The official also confirmed that two members of Erdogan’s security detail “were briefly detained during the altercations and subsequently released” and returned to Turkey with Erdogan.
Last Thursday, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for the Turkish ambassador to be kicked out of the US.
“We should throw the Turkish ambassador out of the country, we should identify those people that performed these unlawful acts of beating people up and they should be charged,” McCain told reporters.
McCain and his Democratic colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California also wrote a letter to Erdogan condemning the violence.