Erdoğan: I can’t call US civilized after warrants issued for my security guards

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday targeted the US, saying America could not be called a civilized country, at the Civilizations Forum at Ibn Haldun University in İstanbul, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“What do they call America? The cradle of democracy. Such a thing cannot be a democracy and its name cannot be democracy,” Erdoğan said, adding:

“If America issues arrest warrants for my 13 bodyguards in a country where I went upon an invitation, I’m sorry, but I will not say that country is civilized.”

The Turkish president also criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy on Muslims: “Muslims in America are facing expulsion, so it means there is a problem in the country.”

On May 16 members of Erdoğan’s security detail engaged in a violent brawl with a group of protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington while Erdoğan was paying an official visit to the country. At least 11 protesters were injured.

Arrest warrants were issued in June for 16 people including 12 members of Erdoğan’s security detail for the attack.

In August, 19 people, including 15 of Erdoğan’s guards, were indicted for attacking people who were protesting the visit of Erdoğan and for committing a violent crime. Some of them also face charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

While 16 defendants were charged in June, three new defendants, all of whom are Turkish security officers, were added to the indictment.

Two defendants were arrested in June and the rest are at large. The police department also issued a wanted list for President Erdoğan’s bodyguards as criminal suspects for their attacks on protesters on May 16.

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