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Online Campaign to Identify “Erdoğan’s Bodyguards” Following Assault

By Bellingcat

On Tuesday, May 16, nearly a dozen people were injured after a clash between pro-Kurdish/anti-Erdoğan protesters and a group that included both Erdoğan supporters and Turkish security officials, including bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The clash happened outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C., and marks the second instance since 2016 where Turkish security officials were involved in violence in Washington.

Last year, Turkish security officials assaulted Turkish journalists outside of the Brookings Institution, leading to injuries inflicted on the Turkish journalists critical of President Erdoğan.

During Tuesday’s protest, the Turkish security officials did not just hold back or try to protect themselves from the protesters, but sought to hurt them, including multiple officials who deliberately kicked defenseless protesters who were already injured on the ground.

Before the skirmish

Before Turkish security officials were involved in the confrontation, a number of pro-Erdoğan and pro-Kurdish/anti-Erdoğan protesters clashed with one another, leading to injuries and each side rushing at each other. However, after these scuffles, both sides were on opposite sides of the street with traffic moving in between. Immediately before a skirmish broke out, a Turkish security official with a mustache and striped tie (1) was screaming at protesters and had to be held back by police officers (2, 3, 4).

Soon, someone rushed across the street, attacking the dozen or so protesters. It is difficult to identify this official because of a lack of footage in between the police holding back the men, and when the man in a suit rushed the protesters across the street.

Battle of Embassy Row

Soon after the fight started, a Turkish security official was filmed kicking a protester who was already injured, on the ground.