Er­do­gan sits through at­tack on pro­test­ers

New Straits Times - - World -

WASH­ING­TON: New video sur­faced on Thurs­day that shows Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan of Turkey look­ing on as armed mem­bers of his se­cu­rity team vi­o­lently charge a group of pro­test­ers out­side the Turk­ish am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence here.

The con­fronta­tion on Tues­day came after United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had wel­comed Er­do­gan to the White House and praised him as a stal­wart ally in the bat­tle against Is­lamic ex­trem­ism.

Trump did not speak of Er­do­gan’s au­thor­i­tar­ian crack­down on his own peo­ple.

It is un­clear if Er­do­gan, who is seen in the video sit­ting in a black Mercedes sedan, com­mu­ni­cated with the would-be as­sailants.

An aide can be seen lean­ing into the car. The aide then speaks to another aide who walks to­ward the group of sup­port­ers and out of the range of the cam­era.

Sec­onds later, mem­bers of the group, in­clud­ing some who were armed, run to­wards the pro­test­ers. The sec­ond aide then re­turns to the pres­i­dent’s car as Er­do­gan ex­its and en­ters the res­i­dence.

Nine peo­ple were hos­pi­talised after the skir­mish, and the State Depart­ment is­sued a stern state­ment con­demn­ing the at­tack.

The video was one of sev­eral new de­tails that emerged about the episode on Thurs­day, as the State Depart­ment and the po­lice here con­tin­ued to in­ves­ti­gate and law­mak­ers es­ca­lated their crit­i­cism of the Turk­ish guards’ be­hav­iour and put pres­sure on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­spond force­fully.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to two mem­bers of the Turk­ish se­cu­rity de­tail who as­saulted US Diplo­matic Se­cu­rity of­fi­cers as­signed to pro­tect the vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion.

The men were briefly de­tained on the scene on Tues­day and their guns con­fis­cated. But when it was de­ter­mined that they held diplo­matic sta­tus, they were re­leased, ac­cord­ing to a con­gres­sional aide briefed on the State Depart­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

By the time video of what had hap­pened out­side the am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence shot across the In­ter­net on Tues­day night, stok­ing out­rage in the US, the two men were on their way out of the coun­try with Er­do­gan and the rest of his en­tourage. Reuters

REUTERS PIC

A po­lice of­fi­cer chas­ing a pro­tester, in this im­age from a video footage, dur­ing a clash out­side the Turk­ish am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence be­tween pro­test­ers and Turk­ish se­cu­rity per­son­nel in Wash­ing­ton DC on Tues­day.

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