President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has vowed to resist the arrest warrant issued for 12 of his bodyguards by United States authorities over the brawl that ensued between protesters in the US and his bodyguards when he visited the US last month.
“What kind of law is this? If my bodyguards cannot protect me then why am I bringing them to America with me?” Erdogan said at a dinner in Ankara, according to Hurriyet Daily.
Erdogan’s comments came hours after authorities in Washington, DC, announced that 12 members of Erdogan’s security detail would face criminal charges for violently suppressing protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the US capital last month.
BuzzFeed News reports that US prosecutors also announced felony assault charges against two Americans, one of whom can be seen kicking a protester repeatedly. Several videos that captured the incident showed Erdogan’s guards kicking, choking, and shoving protesters on Washington’s Sheridan Circle.
ButTurkish officials have pushed back on the accusations, and blamed the US for not taking sufficient precautions to avoid the brawl.
According to Erdogan, protesters affiliated with the terrorist-listed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and Fetullah Gulen, allegedly behind last year’s coup attempt, were 40-50 meters away from where he stood with his bodyguards.
“The US police is doing nothing. Can you imagine what the response would have been if a similar incident had taken place in Turkey?” he said.
US officials have not clarified as to how they expect to detain individuals charged who are currently in Turkey.
On Thursday, Ankara summoned the US ambassador in Turkey to protest the US decision to issue arrest warrants.