Erdogan's guards involved in Washington brawl "are not welcome in Germany"
Warning comes ahead of G20 summit in Hamburg next week
Turkey expected to be source of tension among protesters
Germany has warned Turkey that members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail who were involved in a brawl in Washington last month “are not welcome in Germany.”
The announcement comes ahead of the G20 summit in Germany next week, which Erdogan is expected to attend.
Turkish security officials – including some of Erdogan’s personal guards, according to US officials – fought with protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington in May.
Martin Schafer, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry, said Monday: “Some foreign security services of the Turkish delegation did not abide by the law and therefore those people are not welcome in Germany for the foreseeable future.”
According to German media, the Foreign Ministry received a list of 50 people who were to accompany Erdogan to the G20 in Hamburg, some of whom were involved in the incident in Washington.
In response, the Ministry reportedly told Turkey not to bring those bodyguards to the summit, according to Die Welt.
Schafer refused to confirm or deny details of the reports, but made it clear that everyone attending the summit must respect German law. “The Turkish side just like all other guests who travel to Germany must abide by German law,” he said. “This is what our Turkish partners also know.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry and Erdogan’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Monday and Tuesday are public holidays in Turkey.
Brawl in Washington
The bloody brawl occurred shortly after the first official meeting between Erdogan and President Trump at the White House.
Nine people ended up in hospital when Turkish security officials – including members of Erdogan’s personal security detail – clashed with demonstrators on May 16 outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.
Video showed Erdogan looking on as Turkish guards beat up protesters, before heading into the ambassador’s home.
A senior State Department official told CNN at the time that the Turkish officials involved in the fight appeared to be a mix of Turkish embassy staff and Erdogan’s personal guards. The official also confirmed that two members of Erdogan’s detail “were briefly detained during the altercations and subsequently released” and returned to Turkey with Erdogan.
The Turkish embassy rejected the US’ version of events, however, claiming that the protesters outside the residence were “affiliated with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)” – a banned separatist group in Turkey – and had assembled without permission.
Police in Washington issued warrants for 12 of Erdogan’s security officers in mid-June. Erdogan denied his security detail had done anything wrong and questioned the legality of the warrant.
“They didn’t do anything (to the protesters). In addition to that, yesterday, they detained two of our brothers who intervened … they issued arrest warrants for 12 of my security officials. What kind of law is this? What kind of legal system is this?” Erdogan said.
A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the decision to issue warrants was “wrong, biased and lacks legal basis.” It said the brawl was “caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures,” and that “Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible.”
Huge protests expected in Germany
Germany’s warning to Turkey comes amid significant security concerns around the G20 summit next week.
Security measures will be extremely rigorous, even by G20 standards, a police spokesperson in Hamburg told CNN.
Fifteen thousand police officers from across the country – supported by police from Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands – will be deployed, including snipers, special forces, counterterrorism police and canine units.
Drones used in war zones will circle the skies and tanks will be deployed on the streets, the spokesperson said.
Police are expecting between 50,000 and 100,000 protesters during the summit. Eight thousand left-wing extremists are expected to be among them.
Countless left-wing groups are organizing protests against Erdogan, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin – all of whom are expected to attend the summit – as well as anti-capitalism and climate change demonstrations.
And Turkey may be a particular source of tension. Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party are expected to attend, and police are preparing themselves for potential clashes between Kurdish activists and Turkish nationals.
CNN’s Gul Tuysuz contributed to this report.