Erdogan sits through attack on protesters
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
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.