Did The Turkish President’s Guards Mistake Washington For Turkey?

The Turkish president is used to beating up protesters and journalists at home. But his guards thought it would be OK to do the same in Washington, D.C.

It’s not uncommon in Turkey to see the members of the press being beaten, tear-gassed or arrested.

In fact, lately under the leadership of President Tayyip Erdogan, violent tactics to suppress free speech have become the norm.

That’s probably why when journalists in Washington, D.C., gathered outside the Brookings Institute on Thursday to protest Erdogan’s visit, his security guards thought it was OK to rough them up.

The notorious Turkish leader is in the United States for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, being attended by leaders of more than 50 nations in the U.S. capital. He was delivering a speech at the American think-tank when several journalists started demonstrating outside, calling out Erdogan’s assault on free speech at home.

Soon, the scene turned violent as Erdogan’s security detail exchanged harsh words, in some cases abuse, with the protesters and tried to physically assault them:





Here’s a video from inside Brookings' building:


Things were so bad that Brookings’ staff had to escort journalists inside and outside of the building. One reporter was even asked to leave by Turkish security:


It was only after the Turkish embassy intervened that the manhandling stopped.

The incident comes almost a month after similar scenes were witnessed in Turkey when the Turkish police dressed in riot gear seized the headquarters of Turkey's highest-circulation newspaper, Today’s Zaman, a move that was billed the biggest blow to freedom of press in the country in recent years.


As local reporters and their supporters protested the takeover, they were beaten and tear-gassed:





Last week, Turkey summoned the German ambassador, demanding the deletion of a German satirical video that mocked Erdogan’s tyrannical rule.

It’s time the Turkish government realized not every country condones silencing a free, robust press. What does Erdogan have to hide?

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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