After a clash with Turkish security officials left nine protesters hospitalized Tuesday, new footage surfaced showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looking on stoically as members of his security detail beat civilians.
Erdogan traveled to Washington this week to meet with President Trump. After their White House summit, Erdogan stopped at the Turkish ambassador’s residence, where protesters had gathered. As the protesters and security officials clashed, Erdogan is seen stepping out of his car and watching the fighting for a few moments before turning and walking calmly into the residence.
Two members of Erdogan’s security detail were detained after the scuffle but were released and allowed to return to Turkey because they hold diplomatic status, the New York Times reported.
The White House has not publicly commented on the violence at the ambassador’s residence, but lawmakers have roundly criticized the Turkish security officials’ use of force. Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., co-authored a letter to Erdogan condemning “your staff’s blatant violation” of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.
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“We have long supported Turkey as a member of NATO, and a key U.S. ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decade’s long [sic] partnership,” the letter warned.
Trump has repeatedly praised Erdogan, a divisive leader who has come under fire for his authoritarian leanings. After an April referendum granted Erdogan sweeping new powers, Trump called the Turkish leader to extend his congratulations, a move that alarmed human rights advocates who are worried about the president’s continued embrace of leaders of decidedly undemocratic governments.
In his meeting with Erdogan this week, Trump sought to solidify the bond between the U.S. and Turkey.
“The American and Turkish peoples have been friends and allies for many, many decades,” Trump said.
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