Deportation of Kuwaiti diplomat 'may negatively influence investment'

Deportation of Kuwaiti diplomat 'may negatively influence investment'

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Deportation of Kuwaiti diplomat may negatively influence investment

A Kuwaiti official allegedly assaulted a Turkish Air Force pilot after a quarrel on an Ankara street on Sept. 11, prompting a diplomatic spat.

A Turkish court decision must prove a Kuwaiti diplomat guilty of attacking a Turkish pilot before the embassy decides to send him back to his county, the Kuwaiti ambassador has said, warning that deporting the diplomat prior to a court ruling would negatively affect his country’s investments in Turkey.

Ambassador Abdullah Abdulaziz al-Duwaikh expressed confidence in his diplomat’s innocence over the Sept. 11 incident, during which the Kuwaiti official allegedly assaulted a Turkish Air Force pilot after a quarrel on Ankara streets.

“We respect the court and the law,” the ambassador told the Hürriyet Daily News on Sept. 15, noting that he would expect the court ruling to make a decision about the diplomat.

“We are searching for the reality.  When I send him to Kuwait, the parliament will ask, ‘Why did you send him? What is the evidence?’ We want to know from the official court that he is guilty. When I send him to Kuwait, I will show my government, parliament, and media [found] he was guilty from the official court. He will destroy his family. I have to have a basis for that decision,” al-Duwaikh said.

The ambassador also warned that the deportation of the diplomat before a court decision would negatively influence the many Kuwaiti investments in Turkey.

“If anybody hears that this man is deported without court decision, then they will get afraid and will leave Turkey because they won’t trust Turkey after this incident. So it will affect everything,” he said.

“We have said this is an accident, and we’ll see the result of official court ruling. I am sorry for what happened to him. I convey my regards to him, but in the meantime we don’t want to send somebody back who is innocent until it’s proven,” al-Duwaikh added.

New evidence proves that Kuwaiti Embassy Attaché Amad Ali Almohaid was inside the bank during the attack on Lt. Col. Hakan Karakuş, an F-16 pilot working with NATO, the envoy said.

The diplomat and the Turkish pilot quarreled over traffic, al-Duwaikh claimed, suggesting that Lt. Col. Karakuş started shouting at the diplomat inside the embassy car but that it was not the Kuwaiti diplomat who attacked the pilot.

“The pilot came and shouted ‘You are Arabs, Syrians,’ The diplomat and the driver kept silent. Our language is different from your language. The Kuveyt Türk camera shows that they entered into the bank. Then they found him [the pilot] hitting the car. People in the street said, ‘What is happening?’ and they gathered around the car. I think somebody from the street, they clashed with him. But our diplomat and his driver were inside the bank during that attack,” the ambassador said.

“Unfortunately, the pilot hit the car. There is a photo of him hitting the car. We have given it to the judiciary and the Turkish Foreign Ministry,” he added.

“We are sorry about what happened to the pilot. Whether he is a pilot or he is a poor man. We don’t want anybody to be hurt,” al-Duwaikh said.

The Foreign Ministry is now awaiting the outcome of the court procedure.

Karakuş, who is the son-in-law of Turkish Air Force General Akın Öztürk, received a medical report in which doctors determined he could not work for 20 days. The couple had been taking their 6-day-old baby to the hospital for a vaccination when the incident occurred.