McCain: Violent response of Erdoğan’s security detail reflective of his treatment of dissents in Turkey

Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services Senator John McCain.

US Senator John McCain and Senator Dianne Feinstein have released a written statement and urged Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to hold accountable the members of his security detail who violently attacked peaceful protestors outside Turkey’s Washington envoy’s residence during a visit by Erdoğan on Tuesday. Two senators also stated that the violent response of Erdoğan’s security detail to peaceful prostestors is wholly unacceptable and “reflective of Erdoğan’s government’s treatment of the press, ethnic minority groups and political opponents.”

Stating their statement’s purpose as to express their grave concern with the behavior of some members of Erdoğan’s security detail outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C, the senators said that “The violent response of your security detail to peaceful prostestors is wholly unacceptable and, unfortunately, reflective of your government’s treatment of the press, ethnic minority groups and political opponents.”

McCain and Feinstein’s statement continued as follow: “On May 16, 2017, members of your security detail allegedly broke through police lines and violently attacked a small number of prostestors outside of Ambassador Kılıç’s residence, wounding at least nine people. Yesterday’s attack, however, was not a isolated incident. Last year some of your supporters and members of your security detail violently clashed with protestors and members of the media at the Brookings Institution.

“The actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans. Your staff’s blatant violation of these rights on American soil is an affront to those freedoms, and reflects poorly on your government. We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO, and a key US ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decade’s long partnership.

Two senators concluded their statement by saying “We cannot turn a blind eye to these actions at home, and we urge you to hold accountable those members of your staff who violently attacked peaceful protestors in our nation’s capital.”

Meanwhile, the Voice of America (VOA) published a new video of the brawl between demonstrators and Erdoğan’s security guards during his Washington visit. The video is showing that Erdoğan watching the events from his official car and at one point, surrounded by an army of bodyguards, steps out of his car to inspect fight.

Erdoğan appears in the video that he directly giving orders to his security detail closest to him and overseeing the aggression. The first Turkish bodyguard who seems to have taken order from Erdoğan himself, talks to another detail, who immediately runs toward the crowd.

A few seconds later, following the lead of the second guard, rest of the guards seem to be launching the brawl with the protesters. Erdoğan then continues to watch as events unfolding few seconds more before moving inside the residency.

President Erdoğan met with US President Donald Trump in a scheduled gathering on Tuesday. During his visit to the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., after the meeting, Erdoğan’s supporters and security guards clashed with another group who had gathered outside the embassy building to protest Erdoğan’s policies in Turkey. The protesters held banners that read “Freedom to Demirtaş!” in reference to Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who has been under arrest on terrorism charges since Nov. 4, 2016.

Eleven people were injured, including a police officer, and nine were taken to a hospital, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference on May 17.

May 18, 2017

 

 

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