by Martha Bayles
Hours after Turkey’s President Erdogan met with President Trump, his security guards attacked a peaceful protest outside the Turkish embassy in Washington. As the New York Times reports:
Supporters and opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey engaged in a violent confrontation outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington on Tuesday night. Nine people were injured and taken to a hospital, the District of Columbia’s fire and emergency medical services said. [….]
The fighting sprawled into a park across the street as uniformed police officers, some in helmets and swinging collapsible batons, tried to restore order. Men in dark suits could be seen in the videos, punching and kicking protesters violently. The Anadolu Agency, a state-owned Turkish news service, reported that members of the president’s security team were involved in the fighting.
Sayid Reza Yasa, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said the protesters had not provoked the president’s supporters and were taken aback when they rushed through the police and across the street. Mr. Yasa said he lost a tooth and his nose was bloodied, as he was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly before the police were able to separate the two sides. [….]
“This is not acceptable,” Mr. Yasa, 60, said. “This is America. This is not Turkey.”
The video of the incident is harrowing:
#Erdoğan’ın korumaları kavgaya karıştı https://t.co/gsi1iQ68Ye #amerikaninsesi pic.twitter.com/Jv3g5E7AVA
— Amerika’nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
It also belies the blameless passive construction used by the Times and others in describing the attack. The women and old men being repeatedly kicked while lying defenseless on the ground were not “engaged in a violent confrontation.” Erdogan’s entourage, many of whom are visibly armed, used violence on American soil with impunity while the police did nothing to stop it.
This behavior from Erdgoan is not new. You might bring a group of violent security guards to the US once by accident and something goes wrong. Doing it twice means you mean it: it’s a demonstration of American weakness and of Erdogan’s sense of dominance over the ineffective loudmouths in Washington that will resonate through Turkey and the Middle East—and will be taken note of elsewhere.