While House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah has denied US President Donald Trump apologized to Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his bodyguards’ brawl with peaceful protesters in Washşington on May 2016.
In an interview with PBS News Hour anchor Judy Woodruff, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that President Donald Trump recently contacted him personally to apologize for the vicious melee that took place between the foreign leader’s bodyguards and protesters in Washington earlier this year.
Erdoğan said that “Actually President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue. He said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up about this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit. The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly.”
The Guardian newspaper has also quoted a White House official as saying that the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues in last week’s phone conversation “but there was no apology.”
However, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has stated on Thursday that Erdoğan did not claim that US President Donald Trump apologized to him over a brawl involving Turkish security officers. “President Erdoğan didn’t say President Trump ‘apologized’ to him but he said he was ‘saddened’ by what happened. That is the correct translation,” Kalın said in a tweet.
Following a translated interview with Erdoğan, US TV show PBS NewsHour reported that the Turkish president had said Trump had “said he was sorry” for the incident in May, in which Erdoğan’s security detail brawled with protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.
The report on Tuesday prompted the White House to deny that Trump had made such an apology during a telephone call between the leaders.
Widely circulated video of the incident appears to show Turkish bodyguards beating prone protesters, even as Washington police are struggling to pull them away on May 2016. A grand jury in Washington has indicted 15 Turkish security guards for beating up Kurdish protesters during Erdoğan’s visit to the US capital in May. Washington’s police chief called the incident a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters, while the U.S. State Department described the situation as “deeply disturbing.”
Following the protester-guard brawl, Congress opted to pull out of a plan that would authorize Turkey to buy $1.2 million in American arms for the use of presidential guards.