By Ilhan Tanir, Washington DCThe information Washington Hatti received from reliable Washington sources revealed some new details of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards’ attack on the dozen or so Kurdish, Armenian and Yezidi protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence on May 16th.
Eleven protesters were injured during the assault, which took place after President Erdogan’s meeting with President Donald Trump. Most of the wounded were US citizens protesting Turkey’s Middle Eastern policies and Erdogan. A number of US institutions and prominent politicians condemned the attack. 2 weeks ago, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution condemning Turkey and asking for a formal apology. The Resolution 354 is scheduled to be voted at the General Assembly on Tuesday. Sources told Washington Hatti, the resolution may pass unanimously or by a large majority.
Washington Hatti learned that the crowd confronting the protesters in front of the residence were invited by the Turkish Embassy. The Turkish Embassy also paid for the groups’ expenses.
The previous day, Turkish Embassy in Washington tried to gather another crowd for the Turkish President, but despite the Diyanet Center in Washington’s email invitations and promises for an in-person meeting with President Erdogan very few attended the event. Washington Hatti reported that only a crowd of about one hundred people gathered for the May 15th event; most of them embassy workers, Turkish public news agency journalists, and the Turkish media. Washington Hatti also learned that the education attache in Washington sent a text message to Turkish students and asked them to join May 15th event.
On the May 16th, the Turkish Embassy tried once more to gather a friendly crowd for President Erdogan. The ‘Ahıskalılar’ group was invited by the Embassy -all expenses paid-, as an informal ‘protection’ group, and was brought to Washington to cheer for the president.
The Secret Service knew that it was Erdogan who gave the attack order
The Americans were aware that Erdogan gave the attack order during the incident. The US protocol and protection team, who were very upset about the incident, decided to pull protective detail from Erdogan.
After President Erdogan came to the residence by car and seemingly ordered the attack on the protesters, the American security forces informed the Embassy officials that they are going pull their protection. According to unnamed sources, this created a situation where President Erdogan would not have a protective Secret Service detail going to the airport.
The US Secret Service is primarily responsible for the protection of visiting presidents during their visit to the United States. US Secret Service protects the visiting presidents by providing security during transportation even if the foreign leader has their own protective detail.
The Embassy, according to our sources, managed to keep the US Secret Service Protection by pointing out that especially following the events, “Erdogan might become a target.”
US Secret Service did not comment WHatti‘s email request.
US State Department told WHatti that currently there are three different investigation ongoing: “the investigation is being conducted by the MPD, US Secret Service, and Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. All three law enforcement organizations are actively sharing information. However, as we have indicated before, as this is an ongoing investigation we will not go into specifics.”