TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Speaking after prayers for the Eid al-Adha celebrations on Friday, Erdogan vehemently denied the allegations and said Washington’s move is “a complete scandal. It is a scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States.”
US prosecutors charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on anti-Erdogan protesters in Washington during the Turkish leader’s visit to the US capital in May.
The May 16 skirmish injured 11 people outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence and further strained bilateral ties at a time when the NATO allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria.
Turkey claimed the incident happened due to the failure of US authorities to provide adequate security. Ankara in June summoned the American ambassador over the incident.
Ankara also blamed the violence on pro-Kurdish demonstrators linked to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which both the US and Turkey view as a terrorist organization.
Erdogan further said Friday, “The United States has literally become a country where the PKK terrorist organization is under protection,” adding, “I am having trouble understanding what the United States is trying to do with all these developments.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also said on Thursday, “We protest in the strongest terms that such an unjust and biased indictment, including the names of people who have never even been to the US, has been accepted,” adding that it had conveyed its reaction to the US ambassador to Ankara, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Washington’s police has described the incident as a brutal attack on peaceful protesters.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement replied to Turkey’s criticism, saying the charges against some members of Erdogan’s security detail sent 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,” referring to Ankara’s post-coup purge, Presstv reported.
Since a failed coup attempt last year, Turkey has sacked or suspended more than 150,000 officials in purges, while sending to jail pending trial some 50,000 people, including soldiers, police and civil servants.
The crackdown has targeted people whom authorities say they suspect of links to the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.