The leader of our NATO “ally” in Turkey stood by, without a care in the world, as his goons recently carried out a violent onslaught on innocent demonstrators in our nation’s capital. But he has somehow avoided any and all fault (or even a mere formal rebuke) for the barbarous actions carried out by his security detail against peaceful protesters.
A D.C. court announced Tuesday that bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — an Islamic authoritarian strongman who continues to rule his country without regard for basic human rights — have been charged for the May attack on peaceful demonstrators protesting against the Ankara regime.
Nineteen individuals, including 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail, were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday. All 19 individuals named in the violent incident have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, which the U.K. Daily Mail reports is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. Others were charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
The indictment labeled all 19 individuals as “members and associates of a group of political allies - security personnel and supporters” of the Turkish president. D.C. police have already issued arrest warrants for the Turkish bodyguards involved in the incident.
Even though there is plentiful video evidence, the Turkish government continues to argue that the security detail was acting in “self-defense.”
The perpetrators are long gone and will likely never have to answer for their crimes. Unless they come back to U.S. territory (highly doubtful), the U.S. government has almost no legal means to bring them to justice, other than to formally request their extradition with Turkish authorities. As of this writing, that has not happened.
Yet, given that it was Erdogan himself that appears to have ordered the attack, shouldn’t the Turkish president be the person under scrutiny? Unfortunately, instead of reprimanding the unhinged Erdogan, the Trump administration (and administrations before it) have taken pains to mend U.S.-Turkey relations.
The alliance with the increasingly authoritarian state continues to give America headaches, both at home and abroad.
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Instead of working with the U.S. to defeat jihadi enterprises such as ISIS, Turkey continues to prioritize its bombing campaign against Kurdish factions. In July, Turkey leaked secret U.S. military data on the war against ISIS, putting American troops at great risk, according to the Pentagon.
Moreover, our alliance with Turkey has made it much more difficult for the U.S. government to support the possibility of a sovereign Kurdish state. An independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq would greatly advance U.S. interests abroad.
Not only does Turkey corrupt our alliance with the Kurds, Ankara boosts the terrorist group Hamas and supports the global Muslim Brotherhood’s jihad. Additionally, Turkey continues to boost relations with U.S. adversaries in Russia and Iran, making its NATO membership all the more mind-boggling.
There’s hardly anything left of the once-blossoming, secular-minded state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan garnered even more power through an extremely controversial April referendum, chipping away at basic human rights and protections for Turkish citizens.
Ever since the alleged coup against Erdogan’s regime, the Turkish strongman has thrown tens of thousands of people into prison, jailing academics, human rights activists, and anyone else viewed as a threat to the government.
It’s one thing for Erdogan to treat his own people as expendable servants; it’s another for him to stand by as his bodyguards assault innocent protestors on American soil. Not only should Erdogan be forced to answer for his role in the melee, the White House should also go back to the drawing board and reevaluate our relationship with Turkey.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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