The Turkish government is not immune from a lawsuit brought by protesters suing strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail for assaulting them on the streets of Washington, a federal appeals court has ruled.
When Erdoğan first visited the Trump White House on May 16, 2017, protesters gathered outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence and were besieged by the Turkish leader’s security detail. Voice of America broadcasts and other viral videos captured grisly scenes of guards punching, beating and kicking demonstrators, and the Trump White House stood silent in the face of the onslaught.
“The nature of the challenged conduct was not plausibly related to protecting President Erdoğan, which is the only authority Turkey had to use force against United States citizens and residents,” U.S. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins, both Barack Obama appointees, joined the opinion in full.
◾️Two Turkish security guards were briefly detained after the incident but were soon allowed to return to Turkey.
◾️Twenty of the victims are suing the Turkish government for damages, in two separate lawsuits.
◾️It’s unclear how the case will affect the already deteriorating relations between U.S. and Turkey, with Erdoğan attempting to stabilize relations with the Joe Biden administration.