by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rich Lowry‘s latest column at National Review Online calls for a tough American response to the Turkish government.
The Turkish government is obviously familiar with the concept of “chutzpah,” if not necessarily the word.
Ankara summoned the American ambassador to protest allegedly “aggressive and unprofessional actions” by the Washington, D.C., police. Their offense? Intervening after Turkish security personnel mauled peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington last week.
Video of the incident is jaw-dropping. About a dozen people protested Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — arriving at the ambassador’s residence after a White House visit — from across the street, separated by police from Erdogan’s forces. Then guards suddenly rushed en masse past the D.C. cops to beat up the demonstrators. …
… This incident, which injured eleven, is not the most consequential event in the world. It’s not the Syrian war, or a North Korean missile test. We have large national interests at stake with Turkey, especially in navigating the complex currents in the Syria civil war. But it’s not nothing, either. It deserves more than State Department statements of “concern.”
Especially given the context. The guards didn’t lash out on their own. They charged under the watchful eye of President Erdogan, who was in sitting in a black Mercedes-Benz and emerged to observe the assault. Some media reports contend, based on close analysis, that Erdogan himself may have given the order for the attack.