Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador on May 22 to protest what it called the “aggressive and unprofessional actions” of U.S. authorities against the bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Washington last week.
The move prompted a rebuke from the U.S. State Department, which said the conduct of the Turkish security personnel had been “deeply disturbing.”
Turkey’s decision to summon U.S. Ambassador John Bass was seen as retaliation for calls in the United States for firm action against the Turkish bodyguards, who were seen hitting and kicking protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington during Erdogan’s visit.
The altercation broke out on May 16, when a group of protesters that included Armenians and Kurds say they were attacked by Erdogan supporters and members of his own security detail.
Nine people were injured.
Two Turkish bodyguards were briefly detained after the incident but later released and returned to Turkey.
In a statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said U.S. authorities acted “contrary to diplomatic rules and practices” and called for a full investigation into the incident.
The ministry said it told Bass that there were “lapses of security” during Erdogan’s stay.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who confirmed that Bass was summoned, said the department “raised its concerns about those events at the highest levels.”
Washington summoned the Turkish ambassador over the altercation, and there have been growing calls for a strong response to the violence of the Turkish bodyguards on U.S. soil.
U.S. Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to Erdogan after the incident, accusing Turkish guards of attacking “peaceful protesters” in a “blatant violation” of the freedom of assembly in the United States.
Washington’s police chief described the incident as a “brutal attack” on demonstrators.
With reporting by AP and dpa