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US Supreme Court rejects appeal in case against Turkish president’s bodyguards

The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal to dismiss lawsuits against two of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security staff who allegedly assaulted protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC in 2017.

Turkey applied to lower courts requesting the cases be dismissed, citing immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

But the lower courts ruled that the the events in 2017 were not covered by the act, and that the lawsuits would go ahead under the Supreme Court’s ruling.

During Erdoğan’s visit to the United States in May 2017, a brawl broke out between Erdoğan’s supporters and -the mostly Kurdish- protesters. Two people were arrested for assault, while nine others were injured and taken to a hospital after the DC police unsuccessfully tried to separate the groups.

After the brawl between the Turkish President’s security and the pro-Kurdish protesters drew international condemnation, DC officials issued warrants on assault charges.

Erdoğan responded to the charges by saying that the demonstrators were associated with terrorist organisations.

“What kind of law is this?” he asked, “If my security guards cannot to protect me why would I bring them with me to America?”

The New York Times analysed the video of the incident and spotted that after the security chief leaned into the Turkish president’s car, he spoke into his earpiece, and three guards ran toward the Kurdish protestors.


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