Turkey summoned the US Ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday after American authorities issued arrest warrants for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards, the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the US authority had issued arrest warrants for 16 people, including 12 bodyguards of the Turkish president, over an incident in May outside Turkey’s Washington embassy when several people were injured during a brawl; Erdogan was on an official visit to the US at the time of the incident.
Erdogan himself criticised the issuing of the arrest warrants in a speech he gave earlier on Thursday.
In the statement, the Foreign Ministry said it summoned the American ambassador upon learning that the US authorities have issued arrest warrants for some Turkish citizens and some of the security personnel of our president, due to the incident that took place in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC on May 16.
Ankara told the US ambassador that the decision to issue the warrants was “wrong” and “unacceptable,” Anadolu Agency reported.
It has been conveyed to the ambassador that this decision taken by the US authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis, the statement said.
The ministry also told Bass that the brawl in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the US authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high-level visits and, therefore, Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place.
Bass was also informed that the tolerance of the US authorities towards the protesters who came within a few metres of the Turkish residence with the flags and symbols of the PKK, which both Ankara and Washington recognise as a terrorist organisation, run counter to any understanding of justice.
The ministry added that the decision, which clearly was not taken as a result of an impartial and independent investigation, is unacceptable.