Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan replaced 12 people in his security detail with outstanding arrest warrants against them in the United States, ahead of his visit to New York which started today (September 18).
Erdoğan created a new security team for his five-day visit to the US for the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, where he will also meet with US President Donald Trump on September 21 and French President Emmanuel Macron on September 19.
The Turkish security officials were accused of attacking demonstrators outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington on May 16 this year and indicted by a US grand jury afterwards.
They risk being arrested if they set foot on US soil.
At the time, Erdoğan said that his government would “fight politically and judicially” against the warrants and later said that they demonstrated the US administration’s “weakness”.
“The fact that American security forces did not take any precautions there, the fact that they (demonstrators) weren’t apprehended, is an indication of this bad smell. And as you know, there was an indictment against my security officials over that incident,” he continued.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the US also released a statement blaming the brawl on the failure of “local security authorities to take necessary measures”.
Erdoğan claimed that two female security officials from his wife’s team were arrested who “weren’t even there” when the brawl took place.
The Turkish PM is to stay at the Peninsula Hotel in New York and will attend bilateral talks with the General Assembly on issues including Syria, Iraq and Arakan Muslims amongst others.