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Twelve Turkish Security Guards Charged Over Embassy Brawl

by Countable | 6.16.17

Washington D.C. police announced Wednesday, with the blessing of the State Department, that they are charging twelve Turkish security guards for beating protestors in a brawl outside the Turkish embassy last month during a state visit. Arrest warrants have been issued.

The move heightened tensions that were already rising between the two historic allies. According to Politico, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the move, "while the Turkish Foreign Ministry called the U.S. action ‘unacceptable’ and summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara to protest."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry insisted to Ambassador John Bass that the fault for the altercation lies with the United States:

"[the brawl] was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the U.S. authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place … It has been emphasized that the decision, which clearly was not taken as a result of an impartial and independent investigation, is unacceptable."

Politico reports that extradition is "unlikely" and “despite the anger in Washington, the U.S. government considers Turkey too critical an ally to lose over what happened with the protesters.” However, the suspects were identified with full cooperation of the State Department, “comparing videos of the incident to passport and visa photos”.

Heather Nauert, a State Department spokesperson, acknowledged that the men were protected by diplomatic immunity during the original state visit as part of the Turkish president’s security detail, but if they return to the U.S. as individuals they could face arrest.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have decried the violence, calling on the State Department to pressure Turkey to waive the suspects' immunity. The House also passed a resolution condemning the violence directed by Turkish security forces against peaceful protesters.

For their part, the D.C. police hope the charges and warrants send a strong message. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said:

"You had peaceful demonstrators that were physically assaulted in the District of Columbia. The message to folks that are going to come to our city, either from another state or another country, is that’s not going to be tolerated in Washington, D.C."

Do you think the State Department should pressure Turkey to waive the suspect’s immunity? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(37)
  • Christopher
    06/17/2017
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    This was an assault beyond the gates of their Embassy perpetrated by agents of the Government. They should be forced to waive immunity and stand trial if for no other reason than a symbolic gesture of good will. We are not talking a rogue diplomat or Marine Guard getting into a bar fight; it was a mass attack on peaceful protestors.

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  • Phylos
    06/17/2017
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    Good!! Foreign officials assaulting our citizens on our own soil!? Unacceptable!! Go after these thugs.

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  • Gary
    06/17/2017
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    Get our nuclear weapons out of Turkey and stop propping up this dictator.

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  • Anne
    06/17/2017
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    Yes waive immunity!

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  • SouthernGal
    06/17/2017
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    Thank you for charging these thugs.

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  • Aimee
    06/17/2017
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    About time someone sought justice against bullies beating up on Americans - Turkish guards in America no less. GOP when are you going to wake up and figure out whose side you are supposed to be on?

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  • PLD
    06/17/2017
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    The laws of this country must be obeyed whether a citizen of a foreign government or an American citizen. Turkish law enforcement should be held to these standards.

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  • Ticktock
    06/17/2017
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    The first thing that came to mind when I saw the report of the attack by Erdoğan's protection detail on peaceful demonstrators was why were there no police on the scene when there was an obvious confrontation brewing. It's not like that could not be predicted a month ahead. Considering that the US is responsible for the physical security why were no better prepared. The guards should never have been able to attack the protesters due to US security. Where was it? It's almost as though our people were allowed to be beaten. The guards will never be punished. Erdogan is a strongman and here in the US who would have the authority to remove US security that would admire Erdogan?

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  • Ochoninja
    06/17/2017
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    This is not Turkey and they were on US land not their embassy and if not punished should be deported and not allowed return or face charges if they do return.

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  • KansasTamale
    06/17/2017
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    Thank goodness. They had NO RIGHT TO INVOLVE THEMSELVES IN US GOVERNMENT. They must pay for disrupting & assuring American citizens.

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  • Rhonda
    06/18/2017
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    Turkish security attacked protestors not the other way round. Americans have the right to protest and the Turkish security should respect our laws when in our country. Of course they should be prosecuted!

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  • Loraki
    06/17/2017
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    The Turkish thugs who assaulted peaceful American protesters are not likely to be extradited. See to it that their visas are revoked and tell Turkey that we will not condone attacks upon our citizens by visitors from ANY country, whether the country is considered an "ally" or not! Personally, I don't think Turkey 🇹🇷 deserves our trust, our foreign aid, or anything else from the United States.

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  • JaredThePoet
    06/17/2017
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    The Turkish security guards had no right doing what they did to our own people (that were acting within our laws) on our soil. You come to our country, you abide by our laws and freedoms. If you don't abide by our laws, then you should be reprimanded and held accountable in a court of OUR law.

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  • Eileen
    06/17/2017
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    Erdogan is incensed that Americans complained. Shouldn't he and his guards know better. They had to understand they were not in Turkey, where protests are evidently not part of the rights and duties of citizens who are responsible for adequate and appropriate government.

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  • Sandra
    06/18/2017
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    Not enough. Look at the video. The leader of Turkey told his men to attack them. They were on American soil. The entire Embassy needs to be kicked out of the USA.

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  • Susan
    06/19/2017
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    It's the right message and the right thing to do.

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  • Aqil
    06/18/2017
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    The security guards had every right to defend themselves. We should respect our Allie Turkey and it's citizens . Go after Iran , Russia , Syria the enemies and the countries causing terrorism all over the world . Also go after the cops that kill innocent citizens.

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  • Hunter
    06/19/2017
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    It is essential that the Turkish security is held accountable for their actions. These were American citizens who were exercising their rights to protest. They were assaulted. The American government is responsible for protecting and upholding its people and their rights. Therefore, the government should hold these security individuals on trial. Fear of offending an ally should not be grounds for ignoring assault. An "ally" who treats our people with contempt and violence is no ally at all. Justice is more important than appeasing an aggressive "ally"

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  • Deanna
    06/19/2017
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    This was an attack. Not only on the peaceful protestors, but also on our constitutional rights. Yes, they should be held accountable along with the current administration that let it occur. For the current administration to allow violence be a means of stopping something that is not liked is unconstitutional and criminal. Since they have turned the other cheek on violence against protestors it has gotten out of hand. It's time to start reeling in the violent individuals and stop the hate - regardless of party... it's time to put this country and its citizens first...

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  • Carol
    06/17/2017
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    good lock them up. And they call us animals.

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