Foreign Ministry sends diplomatic note to US envoy over violence outside Turkish mission
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAThe Foreign Ministry on May 22 summoned Unites States Ambassador to Turkey John Bass over a brawl in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Washington on May 16.
A verbal and written protest has been given to the ambassador, according to a written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
The move comes over the seizure by U.S. police of two security guards of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the scene of the incident for a while, despite the fact that the personnel have diplomatic immunity, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
“The Ambassador of the Unites States of America in Ankara was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today and a written and verbal protest was delivered due to the aggressive and unproffessional [sic] actions taken, contrary to diplomatic rules and practices, by US security personnel towards the close protection team of H.E Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, in front of the Turkish Embassy Chancery in Washington DC during the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week,” read a written statement by the ministry on May 22.
The Foreign Ministry formally requested that the U.S. authorities conduct a “full investigation” into the incident and “provide the necessary explanation.”
Turkey also accused the U.S. of not taking sufficient precautions for the official program of President Erdoğan.
“During the meeting with the Ambassador, it was emphasized that the lapses of security experienced during our President’s stay in Washington, which were caused by the inability of US authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program, will not overshadow what in every other aspect was a very successful and important visit,” read the statement.
On May 17, the U.S. State Department summoned Turkish Ambassador in Washington Serdar Kılıç over the incident between protesters and Turkish security personnel during Erdoğan’s visit.
The State Department condemned the attack by Turkish security personnel on protesters as an assault on free speech, issuing a statement to express its concern regarding the violence outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” said the statement, clearly stating that the demonstration in front of Kılıç’s residence was legal, peaceful and protected.
Eleven people were injured, including a police officer, and nine were taken to a hospital, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference on May 17.
The Turkish embassy released a statement on May 17 that contradicted U.S. officials and video evidence, instead blaming the demonstrators, who it said had been “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on May 21 denounced the clash in Washington last week involving Turkish security personnel and protesters.
In an interview on Fox News, Tillerson said the State Department had called in the ambassador of Turkey to discuss the incident and say “that this is simply unacceptable.”
There is an ongoing investigation,” he said. “We’ll wait and see what the outcome of that investigation is. But we have expressed our dismay at what occurred at the Turkish Embassy.”