Sorry for the inaccurate headline. Turkish thugs were allowed to beat Americans with impunity last week. Two members of Erdogan’s security detail were briefly detained after the incident and released without charge. No one was expelled. They got off scot-free. The Turkish objection is that … American cops didn’t stand aside and let the beating go on.
An unbelievable outrage and an insult to the United States. Recall the ambassador.
Turkey’s foreign ministry on Monday lodged a formal protest with the U.S. ambassador to Ankara over what it said were “lapses of security” during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington earlier this month.
The summoning of the ambassador, John Bass, marked a sharp escalation in a diplomatic rift between Turkey and the United States over a violent confrontation between protesters and Turkish security guards in Washington that has prompted outrage in the United States and calls for the guards to be prosecuted.
American and Turkish officials have provided directly contrasting versions of how the violence unfolded. Local police officials said the Turkish guards savagely attacked a peaceful protest outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence as Erdogan was visiting, in a bout of violence that was captured in detail on video. Turkish diplomats, though, criticized the local police for failing to quell an “unpermitted” and “provocative” demonstration.
There are no “contrasting versions” of what happened. It’s on video. The Turks attacked.
— Amerika'nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
They’re not even claiming that the protesters started it. Their beef is that the protest was “provocative.” Are you kidding?
There was no “lapse in security” either unless you mean there weren’t enough American cops on the scene to hold back Erdogan’s goons. The Turks didn’t like being embarrassed so they decided to handle the situation Turkish-style — likely on orders from Erdogan himself — despite the fact that they were on American soil and guests of the United States. Refusing to apologize is one thing; summoning the U.S. ambassador to scold him because American police wouldn’t let Turkey’s thugs stomp American demonstrators is an egregious affront to U.S. sovereignty. It’s irrelevant that the State Department summoned Turkey’s ambassador first and therefore this is a form of tit-for-tat. That’s the whole point — this shouldn’t be treated as a standard tit-for-tat diplomatic dispute involving conflicting interests. Their “interest” was beating Americans engaged in something they have the constitutional right to do. If the White House doesn’t respond to this, such as by recalling the ambassador, they’re effectively conceding that the Turkish position is a defensible one.
We desperately need to begin distancing ourselves from this increasingly fascist Islamist country. NATO limits our ability to maneuver to some extent but we have to start relocating U.S. military assets based in Turkey so that our Middle East operations aren’t so heavily dependent on Turkish largesse. This relationship is going to break eventually. The sooner we prepare, the better.