ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Foreign Ministry lodged a formal protest Monday with the U.S. ambassador over “aggressive” actions by American security personnel during a visit to Washington last week by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was marred by a violent clash between Turkish guards and protesters.
The summoning of the ambassador, John Bass, sharply escalated a diplomatic rift between Turkey and the United States following the violence. Footage of the brawl was widely circulated on social media, prompting outrage in the United States, along with calls for the prosecution of the Turkish guards and even the expulsion of Turkey’s ambassador to Washington.
American and Turkish officials have provided directly contrasting versions of how the violence unfolded. Local police said the Turkish guards savagely attacked a peaceful protest outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence as Erdogan was visiting. Footage of the melee showed what appeared to be Turkish security guards kicking and choking protesters as police struggled to contain the unrest. It also showed Erdogan watching, from a distance, as the fighting raged.