Erdogan warns Turkey opposition chief over 'justice march'

18 June, 2017, 02:08 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Kemal Kilicdaroglu second left the leader of Turkey's pro-secular main opposition Republican People's Party holds a placard that reads

Video recordings of the incident show Erdogan supporters and his bodyguards clashing with Kurdish and Armenian protesters who accuse the Turkish president of rights abuses.

Several people were injured when a brawl broke out outside Turkey's embassy during Erdogan's visit to the USA in May.

Erdogan deemed the warrants are baseless.

"What kind of law is this?"

Speaking during a dinner at his palace in Ankara late Thursday, Mr. Erdogan said the protesters had been a part of the P.K.K. and faulted the American officers for not controlling them.

He said Kurdish PKK fighters and members of what Turkey calls the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) were united in protest against him at a short distance of 40-50 metres from where he was with his bodyguards.

"The U.S. police did nothing. If you are seeking justice, then the parliament is the place", he said.

Stepping up his challenge to Erdogan, Kilicdaroglu controversially claimed the government knew about the July 15 coup bid but did not prevent it from happening.

The U.S. Ambassador was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry to inform him that the decision of the USA authorities is "wrong, biased and lacks legal basis".

"It has been conveyed to the ambassador that this decision taken by U.S. authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis", the ministry said in a statement, blaming local authorities for failing to take proper security measures with regards to the "so-called protesters".

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But the following week the Turkish government summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest "aggressive behavior" by United States security personnel and "security lapses" in the incident. He said, "Justice is sought, not on the Ankara-Istanbul highway.but in independent and impartial courts".

Two men were arrested at the time, and the US State Department registered concern to Turkey in the 'strongest possible terms'.

"I would like to be an optimist and hope that the people responsible for these things we all saw on video will come here and turn themselves in", said Chief Peter Newsham of the Washington police.

The charges against the 12, along with six other Turkish-Americans and Turkish-Canadians who joined the melee, "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", said state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"If those bodyguards would not protect me, why I am bringing them with me to the US?"

Erdogan's security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit, so it was unclear if any would face any immediate U.S. legal repercussions. "We support them, we make sure that they are safe, but we also make sure that they follow our law", Bowser said at a press conference.

"They should bring themselves here to the USA to answer these charges", Newsham said.

It's something of a trick question because it is not very hard to imagine how Erdogan's security forces would respond to a protest by suspected PKK and FETO members that got within 50 feet him.

Close-up footage shared on social media showed Turkish officials dressed in suits beating and punching people in the crowd and, in at least one case, kicking out at a woman splayed on the ground. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.

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