Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says President Trump apologized to him, a charge the White House denied, for the Turkish leader’s security detail beating up protesters outside their ambassador’s residence in D.C. when Erdogan visited in May.
The violence unfolded as a small group of Kurdish protesters held signs and chanted across the street from the Turkish facility. Video from the scene not only shows the attack on the protesters in detail, but additional footage shows Erdoğan viewing the protests from his armored Mercedes and something being communicated to his security staff before the attack began.
Nine protesters were injured. Two men were arrested that day: Jalal Kheirabaoi, of Virginia, was among the protesters and was charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer. Ayten Necmi, of New York, was among the Turks and was charged with felony aggravated assault.
During the investigation into remaining assailants, Erdoğan and his security team left the country.
After a joint probe with the State Department and the Secret Service, the Metropolitan Police Department announced two arrests in June: Sinan Narin of Virginia was charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner. Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey was charged with felony assault with significant bodily injury, felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner.
A dozen of the remaining men and one woman wanted on various assault charges were identified as Turkish security officials. Two Canadians, Mahmut Sami Ellialti and Ahmet Cengizham Dereci, were also indicted on assault charges.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the Trump administration had decided not to allow Erdoğan’s security detail to buy $1.2 million worth of Sig Sauer weapons. Asked about the report on PBS, Erdoğan, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, called it “a question that I will be talking about when I get together with President Trump on the 21st, and these are all rumors… and these rumors are not very healthy rumors.”
“I think it’s wrong for the United States to fight terrorism with the YPG or PYD. This is something I have shared with the higher echelons of the United States,” he said of Kurdish groups in the coalition fighting ISIS. “We need to fight these terrorists with the United States. And we are not able to acquire those weapons from the United States. Why are you giving weapons to those terrorists, is the question that we ask our friends in the United States.”
Erdoğan said he went outside NATO and recently inked a multibillion-dollar deal to buy surface-to-air missiles from Russia because “we have asked for those weapons from many NATO allies, primarily the United States, but we were turned down.”
“That’s why we have to resort to other means, because these systems are very important in terms of our defense,” he said. “We have had discussions and deliberations with Russia, and Russia is willing to support us all the way to a possible joint manufacturing of these missiles.”
“…Turkey is a very powerful member of NATO. And why are you standing against such a member of NATO as Turkey? We’re going to pay for these weapons and acquire them.”
The Turkish president balked about his country’s long-running request to join the European Union, noting, “I don’t know to what extent we will be able to tolerate this lingering on.”
“Has the EU decided to admit Turkey as a full member? They should come up with a statement. Are they going to take us in or not? We are ready for everything and anything, so long as they tell us what they’re going to do,” he said. “We are very sincere, and we expect the exact same from the EU, to be sincere… But I think this can only be tolerated to a certain level, and after that threshold, I think Turkey will come to the point where we have to make our own decision.”
Erdoğan complained that he’s being “defamed” as a dictator by the “very disrespectful” western media for his extensive purge of perceived opponents.
As far as the D.C. protest, Erdoğan claimed Trump “called me about a week ago about this issue — he said that he was sorry, and he told me that he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit.”
“The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly. And similar protests were seen around the White House as well when we were inside of the embassy residence. The protesters were very close to my car, to my vehicle,” he said. Video shows protesters were across the street.
“The PKK terrorists and the FETO terrorists were protesting. These police officers were officers of the state, not the federal government, but they are in charge of maintaining safety around me and security. They failed to do that,” Erdoğan continued. “And, of course, that would be the moment when my personal security would come to my aid and make sure that everything was safe and secure around me. I’m going to get together with President Trump on Thursday, and I’m going to talk about these developments in a very extensive fashion. I hope and pray that justice will be served as soon as possible, because I know that the United States is very sensitive in terms of judiciary and in terms of the rule of law and the legal aspects.”
White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told CNN today, “The topic was discussed. There was no apology.”
The White House readout of a Sept. 9 call between the two leaders simply said that “Trump emphasized the common commitment of the United States and Turkey to work together to increase regional stability.”