Turkey summons US envoy over use of force on Erdogan bodyguards who attacked protesters on Washington visit

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey summoned the US ambassador on Monday (May 22) to protest "aggressive behaviour" by American security personnel and "security lapses" during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington last week.

The key visit was marred by bloody clashes that took place outside the Turkish ambassador's residence after Erdogan met American counterpart Donald Trump.

US officials said Erdogan's bodyguards attacked a small group of pro-Kurdish protesters gathered outside the building and the incident ignited a storm of controversy.

Turkey blamed the violence on supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who picked on pro-Erdogan US-based Turks.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

The ministry summoned John Bass, American ambassador in Ankara, to deliver a "written and verbal protest" over "the aggressive and unprofessional actions taken".

The ministry accused US security personnel of acting "contrary to diplomatic rules and practices... towards the close protection team" of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in front of the Turkish embassy chancery in Washington.

"It has been formally requested that the US authorities conduct a full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation," it added.

The ministry said it told Bass there were "lapses of security" during Erdogan's stay.

It hit out at "the inability of US authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official programme".

However, the ministry said it emphasised to Bass that this would not overshadow an otherwise "successful and important visit".

US Senator John McCain said that the Turkish ambassador should be thrown "the hell out of the United States of America" after the fighting.

"This is Erdogan's security detail. Somebody told them to go out there and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators," McCain said on Thursday (May 18).