Sat, Sep 02, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Turkey’s Erdogan slams US arrests

Reuters, ANKARA

A decision by US authorities to arrest Turkish security guards involved in a brawl in Washington in May is a scandal, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday.

US prosecutors charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters in Washington during Erdogan’s visit to the US capital.

“This is a complete scandal. It is a scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States,” Erdogan told reporters after prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha celebration.

The May 16 skirmish, which was caught on video, injured 11 people outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence and further strained bilateral ties at a time when the NATO allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria.

Turkey blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), while the Washington police chief described it as a brutal attack on peaceful protesters.

The US had failed to provide him protection from members of the PKK during his visit, Erdogan said, adding that he would discuss the issue with US President Donald Trump.

The charges against some members of Erdogan’s security detail sent a clear message that the US “does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech and legitimate political expression,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

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