- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

Ankara publicly scolded the Trump White House on Monday, haranguing America’s top diplomat in Turkey over violent protests that took place in Washington during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit last week.

U.S. Ambassador John Bass was called to the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday to receive a “written and verbal protest” over the “the aggressive and unprofessional actions taken” against Mr. Ergodan’s security staff, who were attempting to put down protesters outside Turkish Embassy Chancery.

Ankara is demanding a full investigation into the “lapses of security experienced during our President’s stay in Washington, which were caused by the inability of US authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program,” a ministry statement said.

Video of members of Mr. Erdogan’s security team viciously beating protesters, just as the Turkish president was departing the embassy in Washington, flooded social media sites last week. Turkish bodyguards punched, kicked and stomped on protesters during the melee, as D.C. police officers beat back Mr. Ergodan’s security team with batons and nightsticks in an effort to protect the protesters.

“There were more than seven people, they came and were punching me all over my body, head, face, everywhere. They punched me a lot. Two police tried to save me, still they were attacking me,” one of the protesters, 31-year-old Mehmet Tankan, told The Washington Times shortly after the attack.

Several days later, images of Mr. Ergodan watching the clashes next to his motorcade outside the embassy began circulating on opposition social media sites, fueling speculation the Turkish president had personally ordered his security detail to put down the protest.

The attacks sparked outrage within U.S. diplomatic circles, claiming the actions of Mr. Ergodan’s bodyguards clearly violated the protesters’ civil rights as U.S. citizens. Shortly after the assaults, Ankara released a statement that the protesters were actually provocateurs working on behalf of the Kurdish Worker’s Party, or PKK.

The Kurdish separatist group, which is responsible for numerous bombings and attacks inside Turkey, has been labelled by Ankara as a terrorist organization.

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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