Turkey blames US for Erdogan's bodyguards' assault on protestors

Turkish Ministry called a US Senate condemnation of DC violence "one-sided."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Ankara continued to put the blame on US authorities Thursday with regards to the Washington DC brawl in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail assaulted peaceful American-Kurdish demonstrators after his May 16 meeting with President Donald Trump.

As the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning Erdogan's bodyguards' use of violence on American soil, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused US security of failing to "take necessary measures."

"There is no answer as to why the US authorities did not apply tight security measures in front of the Ambassador’s Residence as they did in other stages of the visit," a statement on the Ministry's website said.

In one of the videos of the incident released by the Turkish language service of Voice of America (VOA), Erdogan seemed to address a member of his security detail from inside his car before the assailants begin rushing towards the crowd across the Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic's residence on Massachusetts Avenue.

Republican Senate Committee member Dana Rohrabacher of California's 48th congressional district spoke harsh words about Erdogan, calling him "an Islamofascist."

"That a president from another country who watched his bullyboys beat Americans into the ground and bloodied them, and for him to protest our people, that is a supreme insult," said Rohrabacher.

"I hope all Americans understand the message that he is giving us. I will refrain from using a hand gesture of what he is giving us. But we have a message for him; we don’t need people like you visiting the United States anymore."

The Turkish Ministry called the resolution "one-sided" and rejected it, claiming it distorted the "facts."

Two members of Erdogan's security detail seen kicking a man lying on the ground as DC police try to engage with other assailants, Washington DC, May 16, 2017. (Source: VOA)
Two members of Erdogan's security detail seen kicking a man lying on the ground as DC police try to engage with other assailants, Washington DC, May 16, 2017. (Source: VOA)

During the Senate meeting regarding the incident, Rohrabacher twice labeled Erdogan as "an Islamofascist oppressor," saying he was an enemy of "everything we stand for."

Turkish officials never disputed Erdogan's security personnel taking part in the attack on the demonstrators but defended the assault, calling it "a necessity."

They believe the measures were justified as DC police did not disperse the protest, which they claim did not have a permit.

US officials, including Senator John McCain, have pointed out that the protestors were exercising their first amendment right.

McCain previously demanded the Trump administration declare the Turkish ambassador a persona non grata and expel him from the country.

"Further advancement of this resolution in the legislative process with a view to changing the basis will not help the settlement of the matter," the Turkish side added.

House Speaker Paul Ryan supported the resolution.

"Violence against peaceful protesters by bodyguards for Turkey's president was completely indefensible," Ryan said in a statement online.

US-Turkey relations are already tense due to continued American military support for Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the leading force fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.


Editing by G.H. Renaud