Ankara slams US move to issue arrest warrants for Erdogan's security detail, terming it 'wrong' and 'unacceptable'
Turkey summoned the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, to the Foreign Office on Thursday after American authorities issued arrest warrants for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. authority had issued arrest warrants for 16 people, including 12 bodyguards of the Turkish president, over an incident in May outside Turkey's Washington embassy when several people were injured during a brawl; Erdogan was on an official visit to the U.S. at the time of the incident.
In the statement, the Foreign Ministry said it summoned the American ambassador “upon learning that the U.S. authorities have issued arrest warrants for some Turkish citizens and some of the security personnel of our president, due to the incident that took place in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16th.”
Ankara told the U.S. ambassador that the decision to issue the warrants was “wrong” and “unacceptable”.
“It has been conveyed to the ambassador that this decision taken by U.S. authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis,” the statement said.
The ministry also told Bass “that the brawl in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the U.S. authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high-level visits and, therefore, Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place.
“The ambassador of the United States of America in Ankara has also been informed that the tolerance of the U.S. authorities towards the so-called protesters to approach as close as a few meters to the Turkish residence with flags and symbols of terrorist organization and their assault to innocent citizens, as well as the lack of any action taken against the U.S. security personnel who assaulted the security guards of our minister in front of the chancery run counter to any understanding of justice.”
The ministry added that “the decision, which clearly was not taken as a result of an impartial and independent investigation, is unacceptable.”