Ecuador conveys ‘unease’ over use of force by Turkish president’s guards
Emine Kart - ANKARA
REUTERS photoEcuador’s Foreign Ministry has conveyed its “unease” over the use of force against its citizens by guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a demonstration in the capital of Quito, Turkish officials have confirmed.
The incident subject to Ecuador’s diplomatic moves took place on Feb. 5 as a group of demonstrators protested Turkey’s ongoing military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as Erdoğan was speaking at the National Higher Studies Institute in Quito.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino personally initiated a telephone conversation with Turkish Ambassador to Quito Korkut Güngen later on Feb. 5, while Deputy Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Fernando Yepez summoned Güngen to the ministry headquarters on the same day, the Turkish officials said.
The same officials, however, underlined, that no “diplomatic note of protest” was presented to Güngen, although Ecuador side has expressed their unease.
A senior Turkish official, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News on Feb. 7, was defiant as he argued that Ecuadorian officials’ failure to take sufficient measures was the core reason behind the attack by Turkish guards, which he claimed constituted “responsible behavior.”
“The Ecuadorian officials should have acted more carefully. There was vulnerability because of the lack of sufficient measures by the Ecuadorian authorities. Our security officers have acted in a responsible manner. They intervened because they perceived a threat,” said the official, speaking under customary condition of anonymity.
“We are of course respectful of the freedom of expression and assembly, but those demonstrators should not have been able to approach Mr. President so closely, within just a few meters. Would any demonstrator in any country have been able to approach either Ms. [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel or Mr. [U.S. President Barack] Obama that close? It is natural for the security officers to consider this as a threat. If a similar incident had taken place during a visit by Mr. Obama, guards would have perhaps shot the demonstrators,” the official said.