U.S., Turkish Presidents Meet in New York; Protesters Attacked at Pro-Erdogan Event

Trump on Erdogan: ‘He’s Become a Friend of Mine,’ ‘He’s Getting Very High Marks’

NEW YORK (A.W.)—United States President Donald Trump called his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan “a friend” and said that he is getting “very high marks” in a short press appearance prior to a bilateral meeting between the two leaders.

“We have a great friendship as countries. I think we’re, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship,” U.S. President Donald J. Trump on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a meeting between the two leaders on Sept. 21 in New York. (Photo: Press Service of the President of Turkey)

“It’s a great honor and privilege—because he’s become a friend of mine—to introduce President Erdogan of Turkey. He’s running a very difficult part of the world. He’s involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he’s getting very high marks. And he’s also been working with the United States,” Trump said to reporters.

After introducing Erdogan, the U.S. President said that Turkey and the U.S are as close as they  have ever been. “[A] lot of that has to do with the personal relationship,” Trump remarked at the Sept. 21 press conference in New York.

Erdogan, who was in New York to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, thanked Trump before saying that the two would be assessing the relations between their nations and to discuss recent regional developments in their bilateral, closed-door meeting.

When asked by a reporter about Erdogan’s guard’s May 16 Washington, D.C. attack on peaceful protesters and about reconciling the “Kurdish issue” in Turkey, Trump responded, “We’ll be discussing many issues—many issues.”

On the same day, at least one protester was beaten at a New York hotel where Erdogan was delivering a speech to the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TANSC). One man reportedly stood and began shouting “Terrorist! Terrorist!” at the Turkish President, prompting members of pro-Erdogan crowd to start beating him as U.S. security officers tried to hustle him to safety.

A still image from a Voice of America Turkish service video, which captured the attack (Photo: Voice of America Turkish service)

A video (below)captured during the incident shows Erdogan take to the stage while a protester can be heard shouting “You’re a terrorist! Get out of my country!”

The Voice of America Turkish service video then shows men clad in black suits moving toward the demonstrators, with one being hit by members of the crowd. It has not been confirmed that members of Erdogan’s security team were involved as it is yet unclear as to who was beating the protesters.

Last month, a grand jury in the U.S. capital issued indictments against 19 people, including 15 members of Erdogan’s security detail, for their brutal attack against peaceful protesters gathered in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., on May 16.

All 19 defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, with a bias crime enhancement—charges of hate crimes—which carry a maximum 15 years’ prison sentence. Many were indicted on additional charges.

Sixteen of the defendants were already charged on June 13 by the Metropolitan Police Department, two of whom have been arrested and will be facing initial court hearings on Sept. 7. The rest of the defendants are still at large. The three new individuals indicted today were all part of President Erdogan’s security detail.

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters—elderly men and several women—who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.

On June 6, with a vote of 397 to 0, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously condemned Turkey in response to the attacks.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: U.S., Turkish Presidents Meet in New York; Protesters Attacked at Pro-Erdogan Event

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