Brutal Attack by Members of Turkish Government on U.S. Citizens Draws Outrage
Supporters of President Erdogan violently charged a group of protesters on Tuesday night.
The violent confrontation took place outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence. Eleven people were injured, including a police officer. Nine were transported to a hospital due to their injuries. Metropolitan Police chief, Peter Newsham, addressed the incident at a news conference on Wednesday. Two Secret Service agents were also assaulted according to a federal law enforcement official.
The State Department condemned the attack and warned Turkey that the action would not be tolerated.
“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” said Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman.
The White House has thus far been silent on the episode and referred reporters to the State Department.
The Turkish embassy released a statement that contradicted United States officials and video evidence. Instead they place the blame on the demonstrators. The statement claimed the demonstrators were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president.” The president’s supporters and security forces were reacting in self-defense.
The altercation puts the United States in an uncomfortable position. Now investigators must navigate potentially charging the security personnel and other Erdogan supporters involved in the attack. Many of whom could potentially claim diplomatic immunity.
Meanwhile, Metro Police Chief Peter Newsham stated, “We intend to assure that there is accountability for anyone involved in this assault. Yesterday we witnessed what appeared to be a brutal attack on peaceful protests.”
The Secret Service, which provides protection for visiting dignitaries, said in a statement it would work with the police and the State Department “to aggressively pursue accountability for those involved in yesterday’s protests.”