US police issue arrest warrant for Erdoğan’s bodyguards
Turkey’s Presiden Tayyip Erdoğan blasted U.S. for charges against his bodyguards after D.C. protest clashes.
Washington police issued an arrest warrant for 12 members of President Tayyip Erdoğan’s security team who were involved in a brawl last month outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.
They are accused of attacking peaceful protesters during Erdoğan’s visit to Washington last month.
Speaking at a press conference together with Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the men were identified by matching surveillance video from the fight to entry visas and passports. All are charged with various degrees of assault and are thought to be in Turkey, said Newsham.
Two Turkish residents in the U.S. were arrested on Wednesday for their involvement in the assault.
Police authorities stated that 34 people out of 42 who are all involved in the scuffle have been identified and 12 of them are thought to be Erdoğan’s bodyguards.
Speaking in Ankara on Thursday, Erdoğan blasted the D.C. police.
“They have issued arrest warrants for 12 of my bodyguards. What kind of law is this?” the president said. “If my bodyguards cannot protect me then why am I bringing them to America with me?”
“Am I going to use America’s Hans as bodyguards?” he said. “When U.S. leaders come to Turkey they don’t even take Turkish police into their cars, saying they will use their own police. We will fight this decision politically and legally.”
The president accused the demonstrators of being affiliated with a terrorist organisation. He said they got too close to the residence and to him. “And the American police are not doing anything,” Erdogan said. “They are not touching them. Could you imagine what the attitude would be if something similar happened in Turkey?”
TILLERSON: ‘A CLEAR MESSAGE’
The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador after the charges were announced and said in a statement that the decision “lacks the legal basis.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement the charges send “a clear message that the U.S. does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech and legitimate political expression.”