Erdogan blames 'Obama-era' officials for US indictment of his bodyguards

The Turkish President further said the indictment by US prosecutors against his security detail, who brutalized Kurdish-American protestors, would not "bind us."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused a US grand jury which formally brought charges against 15 of his bodyguards, who back in May attacked and brutalized 11 Kurdish-American protestors in Washington DC, of engaging in a 'scandal.'

“This is a total scandal. It is a scandalous expression of how justice works in America,” Erdogan told members of the media after morning prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha celebration in Ankara.

Erdogan went on to divert the blame for the judicial process against his security detail to the former President Barack Obama's administration, although the violent brawl happened the same day he met the new President, Donald Trump.

"The prosecutor there is a remnant of Obama's tenure," Erdogan said, adding he would raise the issue with Trump during an upcoming visit later this month for a UN meeting in New York.

The Turkish President further said the indictment by those US prosecutors would not "bind us," in remarks carried by the government-funded Anadolu agency.

Despite the statement, the Turkish President did not clarify if he will include his bodyguards, now wanted by US police and judiciary, to his entourage to New York where they would face arrest and prosecution.

The Turkish security detail's attack on what the DC police and State Department described as peaceful protesters was caught on widely-circulated videos and led to a diplomatic crisis between the two NATO allies with already strained ties.

With repeated mutual summonings of their respective ambassadors in DC and Ankara, the two countries engaged in a clash of words, as some Americans such Senator John McCain calling for the deportation of the top Turkish diplomat in the US.

Erdogan held his country's official line - that the civilian protesters his men brutalized were members of the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - and defended his team on the grounds for “doing their job.”

“These developments in America are not good. America has now become a country where the PKK terrorist organization is under protection,” Erdogan said.

Continued military US support for the Syrian Kurdish groups spearheading the war on the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, a policy crafted during Obama era, has engendered much disdain on Erdogan's part.

“I am having a hard time trying to understand what the United States is trying to do in the face of all these developments," Erdogan concluded.


Editing by G.H. Renaud