Erdogan’s Guards, Involved In Washington Brawl, Are Unwelcome In Germany

As Hamburg prepares for the high-profile G20 summit, German authorities expressed disapproval and intention to block certain figures from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team who were charged by the U.S. officials over involvement in the brutal beating of protesters during the Turkish president’s visit to Washington, D.C., in May.

The fallout of the incident has a new reflection at the diplomatic level on the international stage as Germany prepares to deny the Turkish guards a presence in Hamburg, which will host a G20 summit of advanced economies early next month.

When German Foreign Ministry obtained the list of Turkish delegation and accompanying security guards, it realized that some of the guards had involved in the Washington brawl. D.C. police have issued arrest warrants for 12 members of President Erdogan’s security team and already placed two Turkish-Americans behind bars over active involvement in beating protests.

The incident has generated a new layer of friction between Turkey and the U.S., in addition to a number of points of contention that have kept relations strained.

The Turkish president reprimanded the U.S. authorities for the decision and defended the action of both his bodyguards and his supporters. He faulted the lack of enough security by the American side for the outbreak of the altercation between protesters whom he portrayed as terrorists and his security team.

“The Federal Government has taken measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in Germany. We expect accompanying security personnel to abide by the law,” a spokeswoman from the press office of German Foreign Ministry told The Globe Post on Tuesday.

“We have also reason to believe that those persons in question will not be part of the G20-delegation to Germany,” she added.

Turkish security members “won’t set foot on German soil in the foreseeable future, so also during the G20 summit,” a German Foreign Ministry spokesman told German media on Monday. The German federal police contacted with the Turkish security and demanded that those guards not attend the summit.

“I have reason to expect that these people, who have been incriminated by the American criminal justice (system) will not step onto German soil in the foreseeable future, including during the G20 summit,” Spokesman Martin Schaefer said in remarks to media members.

The German position will likely fuel tension between Turkey and Germany, two NATO allies whose ties tumbled into a series of diplomatic rows over the past months.

German police have been taking extreme security measures for Hamburg summit where it expects more than 100,000 protesters to show up. Hamburg, which hosts the largest Turkish population outside Turkey, would also see a flare-up of tension between the Turkish nationalists and Kurds. More than 15,000 German riot police will be providing security.

The summit will also bring world leaders, U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other key figures at the same forum for the first time. It is expected to lay bare to the clash of opinions and different perspectives on global issues such as the climate change, transatlantic trade relations and the status of NATO. Those issues have exposed salient divisions between the Trump administration and EU, and would offer another ground for a potential standoff at G20 summit.

Turkey-Germany Ties To Face Another Test

The summit and German move against President Erdogan’s bodyguards would stir a new round of diplomatic spat.

After Ankara refused to allow German lawmakers to visit German troops in Incirlik base in the southern Turkish province of Adana earlier this month, Germany began to pull out its troops from Turkey.

Weeks of sniping and exchange of barbs between the two countries took place in leading up to a referendum in Turkey in April. Ankara was infuriated by German decision to deny Turkish ministers holding rallies in Germany to lobby for President Erdogan’s constitutional reform package among Turkish expatriates.

President Erdogan likened German administration to Nazis and excoriated Chancellor Angela Merkel for barring Turkish ministers from campaigning. Those remarks marked the tipping point for the normally patient German government. It sparked a backlash, and Germany urged Ankara to stop such remarks, halt trivializing the suffering of victims at the hands of Nazis during the Second World War.

What will be Turkey’s reaction to the latest decision by Berlin remains to be seen as the Turkish officials have yet to comment regarding the ban on President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

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