The security detail of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan got caught mixing it up with protestors in New York City on Thursday, and it isn’t the first time one of his appearances in the States turned violent.
Erdoğan, who was speaking to members of Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, was suddenly interrupted by a group of protestors, who began shouting “You’re a terrorist! Get out of my country!” The hecklers, it is believed, were at the lecture in order to voice their displeasure towards Turkish treatment of the Kurds, a minority group that has become a key US ally in the fight against ISIS.
Almost immediately, black-suited men converge on the dissidents, and punches begin to fly as security attempted to remove the intruders. The NYPD was eventually called to the scene, who briefly detained five people, all of whom were shortly released.
“It appears that it started when pro and anti demonstrators kind of clashed, and it started a little bit of a physical confrontation,” NYPD Spokesman Stephen P. Davis told the New York Times. “But at that point, the people were separated and broken out and brought out of the venue.”
It should be remembered that Erdoğan’s tough have been involved in several similar altercations before. In 2011, Turkish security attacked a guard at the United Nations building in New York when they refused to let the president enter the building without proper identification, leading to the guard requiring hospitalization. More recently, Erdoğan’s engaged in a full-on street fight outside the Turkish embassy in Washington DC, which ended in the hospitalization of nine people, most of whom were protestors. Fifteen members of the security team were indicted on assault charges from that incident, but the final verdict for their crime has yet to be handed down.
(HT: The Hill)