Leaked email says then-PM Erdoğan punched UN security guard in 2011

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waits to address the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 20, 2016.

An email leaked from the private account of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak says that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, at the time he was prime minister of Turkey, punched a security guard during the UN General Assembly in 2011.

According to the email, what occurred was a major incident in which Erdoğan was personally involved in a fistfight at UN headquarters. It also claims the issue was covered up by the UN.

In an email to Albayrak, who is also Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Yahya Bostan, then-reporter and present-news editor at the pro-government Sabah daily, described the brawl as a more of a major incident than what was reported in the Turkish media, saying that the first punches were thrown by the Turks.

Bostan said the incident was “huge,” but he claimed that UN officials covered it up. He also said Turkish officials were very concerned about the leaking of the incident to the media.

Joe Lauria from The Wall Street Journal and Uri Friedman of The Wire wrote about the incident in 2011.

“Violent scuffles broke out between United Nations security guards and bodyguards protecting Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan inside the U.N.’s General Assembly hall on Friday, U.N. officials confirmed,” Lauria wrote on Sept. 27, 2011.

While the WSJ quoted a UN official as saying that “no punches were thrown by either side,” The Wire’s Friedman wrote that “Erdogan may have even grabbed a US security agent to stop him from throwing a punch.”

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Mr Erdogan after the incident at the Turkish mission to the UN to apologize for it, one of the UN officials said,” reported the WSJ.

Bostan said that only a cameraman from the private Turkish İHA news agency cameraman was on the scene; however, he was ordered not to record the incident.

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