Turkey Faults ‘aggressive' US Authorities for Violent DC Clash

WASHINGTON — Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that U.S. authorities were “aggressive and unprofessional” during a confrontation with protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s Northwest D.C. residence last week, and the ministry has demanded a “full investigation of this diplomatic incident.”

Members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail were caught on video violently clashing with protesters outside the ambassador’s Sheridan Circle residence, leading to bipartisan outrage and even calls to oust the ambassador from the United States.

The ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to Turkey to protest the actions taken by “U.S. security personnel” toward Turkish security guards. In a statement released Monday, the Turkish ministry claimed U.S. authorities acted “contrary to diplomatic rules and practices.”

The statement in full:

The Ambassador of the United States of America in Ankara was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today and a written and verbal protest was delivered due to the aggressive and unprofessional actions taken, contrary to diplomatic rules and practices, by US security personnel towards the close protection team of H.E Mevlüt Çavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, in front of the Turkish Embassy Chancery in Washington DC during the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week. It has been formally requested that the US authorities conduct a full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation. During the meeting with the Ambassador, it was emphasized that the lapses of security experienced during our President’s stay in Washington, which were caused by the inability of US authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program, will not overshadow what in every other aspect was a very successful and important visit.

Widely circulated video of the clash from Voice of America shows men in black suits punching and kicking a group of bloodied anti-Erdogan protesters gathered outside the ambassador’s residence as D.C. police officers attempt to fend them off.

WTOP has reached out to D.C. police for comment about the Turkish ministry’s statement.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham last week called the clash a “brutal” attack on peaceful protesters and said his department would pursue arrests of all involved.

“There could be a diplomatic immunity issue, but that won’t prevent us from doing what we need to do here at the Metropolitan Police Department,” Newsham said.

Eleven people, including a police officer, were injured during the melee. Two people have been arrested. Jalal Kheirabaoi, 42, of Fairfax, Virginia, has been charged with assaulting a police officer. Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, New York, has been charged with aggravated assault.

The confrontation came hours after Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.

The U.S. State Department formally summoned the Turkish ambassador to the U.S to express concerns about the security guards’ violent behavior.

Republican Sen. John McCain said during a TV interview last week, “We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America.”

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