Protesters getting beat? Erdogan must be in town…

Thanos Davelis, Director of Public Affairs, HALC

You would think that after not one, not two, but three times, Erdogan and his thugs would stop confusing US cities for Ankara. Today, however, we were yet again “honored” with another taste of what Erdogan’s democracy looks like.

During a pro-Erdogan rally in New York City, some protesters stood up to voice their opinions, daring to criticize the great “Sultan.” They may have felt secure thinking that Erdogan’s guards would show some restraint this time around, especially after the incidents in DC this past May and the widespread condemnation of Turkey in Congress that followed. Unfortunately, it looks like Erdogan and his goons didn’t get the memo, or simply don’t care.

Video footage from the event show Erdogan’s bodyguards and supporters attacking and punching protesters at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, where Erdogan was giving a “special address.” Erdogan coolly waits until the “ruckus” is done, and continues his speech.

Directly after his address, Erdogan held a meeting with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. President Trump hailed Erdogan’s leadership in Turkey and said Erdogan “has become a friend of mine.” He added that “I think now we’re as close as we’ve ever been.” President Trump also said Erdogan’s performance as president had earned him “very high marks.” The violent assault of protesters earlier in the day did not come up.

Today’s incident comes one day after Turkey’s president told PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff in an extensive interview that President Trump “said that he was sorry” about the charges against the Turkish security guards involved in the May assault on US protesters, and “that he [Trump] was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit.” The White House denied that an apology was made.

Erdogan added “I hope and pray that justice will be served as soon as possible…”

So do we. It’s time Erdogan and his thugs were held publicly accountable.

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