Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled as a “scandal” the decision of a U.S. court to indict 19 people, among them 15 members of a Turkish security detail, accused of attacking peaceful demonstrators during Erdogan’s visit to Washington on May 16.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul Friday, Erdogan called the indictment “a clear and scandalous expression of how justice works in America,” adding that he would discuss the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump during a trip to New York this month.
“The only thing I can say about this matter … as you know our foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to the ministry and conveyed the necessary warnings. This is a complete scandal. It is a scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States.”
Video showed Turkish security agents beating and kicking protestors outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, following a meeting between Erdogan and President Donald Trump.
Erdogan said the security officials, among them the head of Erdogan’s security operation, were protecting him from members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after U.S. police failed to do so.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry repeated Ankara’s criticisms of “serious negligence” by U.S. security authorities who did not “secure our delegation’s safety” and conveyed its reaction to the U.S. ambassador to Ankara.
The charges against Erdogan’s security agents sent a clear message that the U.S. “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.