Turkish foreign ministry summons US ambassador after arrest warrant on Erdoğan’s bodyguards

Turkish foreign ministry summons US ambassador after arrest warrant on Erdoğan’s bodyguards

ANKARA
Turkish foreign ministry summons US ambassador after arrest warrant on Erdoğan’s bodyguards

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on June 15 summoned U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass after Washington issued an arrest warrant for 12 bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over a brawl outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington.

The ministry called the decision "wrong and partial" stating that local authorities failed to take necessary precautions around the embassy during the brawl.

"It has been conveyed to the Ambassador that this decision taken by US authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis; that the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the US 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," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, it was stressed that the decision was unacceptable and it clearly did not come as a result of an impartial and independent investigation.

"The Ambassador of the United States of America in Ankara has also been informed that the tolerance of the US authorities towards the so-called protesters to approach as close as a few meters to the Turkish Residence with flags and symbols of terrorist organization and their assault to innocent citizens, as well as the lack of any action taken against the US security personnel who assaulted the security guards of our Minister in front of the Chancery run counter to any understanding of justice," it said.

Washington prosecutors had charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters during Erdoğan's visit to the U.S. capital.

The charges send a clear message that the United States "does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech and legitimate political expression," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

Once the legal case is concluded, the department "will determine if any additional steps will need to be taken," Tillerson said in the statement read by a spokeswoman to reporters.