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New video captures the Turkish president watching as his bodyguards beat up protestors in Washington DC

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters/Lintao Zhang
Democratic leader or thug?
  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Recep Tayyip Erodogan got a scolding from US politicians and the State Department earlier this week when video of his body guards beating up people protesting against the Turkish leader in Washington DC surfaced on the web.

A new video of the incident, shot by Voice of America, makes Erdogan look even worse. In it, he is seen getting out of his car outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday and staring at the altercation, which ultimately injured nine protesters. After a few brief moments, he turns and heads into the building, an impassive expression on his face.

At the very least, the footage suggests Erdogan did nothing to stop the attack. At worst, as some are suggesting, it might show how Erdogan himself might have ordered it. A frame-by-frame analysis by the Washington Post of the videos details the timeline of the confrontation. It occurred shortly after an Erdogan aide consulted with him in the Voice of America video. A man who is shown close to Erdogan in that footage was recorded in the original video taking part in the fight.

Here’s footage of the brawl:

The Turkish embassy said the guards were acting in self-defense after protesters aggressively provoked the people who had gathered to greet Erdogan; Washington DC’s police chief said the attack was unprovoked. They arrested two body guards, but released them because they had diplomatic immunity.

That same day, Erdogan had remarked during a joint press conference with Donald Trump on the “common democratic values and common interests” shared by the US and Turkey. The US president has yet to comment on the videos.

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