WASHINGTOIN, DC — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security guards clashed with journalists and protesters on the street outside the Brookings Institution Washington. Erdogan was scheduled to speak at the foreign policy think tank, about his country’s goals as it approaches its 100 year anniversary.
The security guards swore at and began assailing the protestors and the journalists attempting to cover the event. Inside the event, the Turkish leader’s bodyguards sought to physically remove one journalist from the event, kicked another and threw a third, a woman, to the sidewalk. Smart phone footage posted on Twitter appeared to corroborate some of the allegations of violence.
A surge in D.C. police presence managed to separate the anti-Erdogan protestors from his supporters. But, Foreign Policy reports, Turkish security clashed with D.C. police, angered that the officers wouldn’t remove the protestors.
National Press Club Slams Erdogan
Thomas Burr, president of the DC-based National Press Club, released a statement slamming Erdogan and his security guards. He expressed alarm about reports that security personnel guarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had physically abused journalists in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
“Turkey’s leader and his security team are guests in the United States,” said Thomas Burr, the National Press Club president. “They have no right to lay their hands on reporters or protesters or anyone else for that matter, when the people they were apparently roughing up seemed to be merely doing their jobs or exercising the rights they have in this country.
“We have increasingly seen disrespect for basic human rights and press freedom in Turkey,” Burr added. “Erdogan doesn’t get to export such abuse.”
Burr also commended Brookings Institution personnel for resisting efforts by Erdogan’s bodyguards to rough up the press at Thursday’s event.