Earlier this week both Ankara and Washington confirmed that President Erdogan's upcoming Nov. 13th visit to the White House on Trump's invitation will happen as planned, despite US-Turkey relations being at their lowest point ever. This due to a host of issues including the S-400 and F-35 controversy, as well as the 'Operation Peace Spring' incursion into northern Syria which has seen Turkish forces fire dangerously close to US troop positions.
D.C. is now bracing for Erdogan and his security entourage's visit. This will no doubt include the heightened alert of Capitol Police and the Secret Service, given what happened during the Turkish president's prior two-day visit in 2017, when this shocking scene played out:
A massive brawl, caught on video, had been instigated by Erdogan's security detail at the Sheridan Circle in front of the Turkish ambassador's residence.
The bodyguards literally attacked a group of pro-Kurdish protesters, which included Americans, on US soil. But now with tensions between the US and Turkey at boiling point, will we witness such an attack play out again?
At the time Turkey even had the gall to accuse U.S. law enforcement of failing to quell an "unpermitted" and "provocative" demonstration, in an international incident which put pressure on Trump to condemn it.
US police at the time accused Erdogan's bodyguards of viciously attacking the peaceful protesters. The State Department had called the conduct of Erdogan's body guards "deeply disturbing" and has "raised concerns about those events at the highest levels," according to a spokeswoman, and even later sought to bring charges against eleven among Erdogan's detail, who later left the country.
The 2017 "Protest Beat down" drove international headlines at the time and was highlighted in foreign media:
Even apart from those shocking scenes in 2017, The Washington Post on Friday detailed the following which has not been publicly reported at the time:
But newly revealed State Department memos show the two-day visit in 2017 was filled with other troubling antics and discord. D.C. police and federal officers who were supposed to be helping protect a visiting head of state were instead entangled with his security forces from the moment the delegation’s two planes touched down at Joint Base Andrews.
At one point, U.S. authorities intervened in a squabble among the Turkish guards. In another case, they seized a guard’s weapon and handcuffed him. They later admonished a security officer who accosted a passerby filming the entourage on a downtown street and barred a guard from traveling in a State Department car. In the course of the visit, several U.S. officers and federal agents were hurt, and at least one was punched.
Considering this past behavior, and given what's playing out in northern Syria with Kurdish forces under attack and facing ethnic cleansing by pro-Turkish forces, it is likely we're in for more.
Pro-Kurdish groups in the US are already planning major protests, and DC police have begun preparations.
Police Chief Peter Newsham was quoted in the Post as saying his department “will take every measure possible to make sure we don’t have another conflict like we had the last time.” They are also coordinating with the State Department and Secret Service.
No doubt Erdogan's goons and synchphants are also taking note, and making their own preparations for what will likely be another rumble in Washington..