A new video has emerged online showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calmly getting out of his car and watching members of his security detail brutally attack a group of Kurdish protesters outside of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
The video also suggests that Erdogan gave the orders for the assault to a bodyguard standing outside his Mercedes Benz moments before the beat-down began.
The video is filmed from behind a black Mercedes Benz occupied by Erdogan, who had just left a White House meeting with President Trump.
Kurdish protesters can be heard chanting in the video. One of Erdogan’s personal bodyguards is also seen bending down into the Mercedes, which is surrounded by around 10 suited men.
The video then shows Erdogan’s bodyguard standing up outside of the vehicle before appearing to relay commands to another man closer to the protests unfolding on the street outside the embassy. The man then turns and appears to rush off towards the protests. Seconds later, men in suits working in some capacity for the Turkish government go after the protesters.
Given Erdogan’s iron-like grip on his government, it is unlikely that his security detail would have acted without direct orders.
The VOA footage zooms in as Erdogan’s security detail is seen punching and kicking the protesters. The melee dissipated in less than a minute, and Erdogan is seen emerging from the Mercedes Benz. He then enters the ambassador’s residence flanked by several Turkish government ministers, including Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s energy minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law.
As PJ Media reported yesterday, protesters at the demonstration, which included Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Yazidis, and Assyrians, were chanting and holding up signs demanding the release from jail of a pro-Kurdish politician before the attack began. Erdogan’s security staff concentrated mostly on Kurdish protesters.
At least a couple of protesters were filmed covered in blood following the melee, and a female protester was filmed being cornered and choked by a man in a black suit.
Nine people were injured, one severely, and two were arrested, apparently one from the pro-Kurd side and one from the pro-Erdogan side.
The executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, who witnessed Tuesday’s bloody attacks against protesters of the regime of visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called the violence the “very type of intolerance that has come to predominate in Turkey — and it has now been exported here.”
According to The Daily Caller, the State Department says it is investigating the brawl but has so far declined to comment on the status of the investigation into the brawl.
But The Daily Caller has learned that a memo circulating within the agency has determined that some of the men who took part in the violence are part of the Turkish presidential detail and have diplomatic immunity. Others were hired from the Turkish-American community, raising questions about whether they will receive diplomatic protection.
The unclassified memo, a readout of which was provided to TheDC, also identifies a U.S.-based group called the Turkish American Steering Committee (TASC) as having some link to Tuesday’s events.
It is unclear what role TASC played in the drama, though several members of the organization were spotted outside of the embassy during and after Tuesday’s violence. One of the group’s board members is Halil Mutlu, a cousin of Erdogan’s. He was seen on the sidelines of Tuesday’s fracas leading a chant supporting his relative.
“As the investigation into [Tuesday’s] events remains ongoing, we’ll decline any further comment at this time,” a State Department spokeswoman said.
Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S., Serdar Kilic, appeared to taunt police after the violence subsided. “You cannot touch us,” Kilic allegedly shouted at an officer.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham vowed “to pursue everything that’s within our legal power to hold the folks that were responsible accountable for their action.”
“We intend to ensure there was accountability for anyone who was involved in this assault,” he said, while acknowledging that diplomatic immunity may hamper that quest.
“We have very good video. We have a good idea of some of the folks that were there on the scene. We’re very comfortable that we will be able to identify most of the assailants,” the chief added, noting that the department is working with the Secret Service and State Department to identify the attackers and putting out a call for anyone with additional video footage of the incident to hand it over to law enforcement.
While the video shows some cops using their batons and pushing Turks away from the protesters, Newsham argued “police involvement in that case was very dicey because there were some people up there that had firearms, and they had to safely restore order.”
“Thankfully, that was done without more significant injury,” he added.
On Wednesday, the State Department voiced its concerns to the Turkish government: “We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
The Turkish embassy issued a statement denying any responsibility for the violence, blaming instead the Kurdish demonstrators for “provoking” the Turks with their “unpermitted” protest and saying that Erdogan’s security detail was only acting in “self-defense.”