by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On Tuesday, the Turkish Presidential Protection Department (for simplicity, hereafter referred to as the TPPD) attacked peaceful U.S. protesters on U.S soil. …
… Last year, TPPD officers attacked journalists outside the Washington-based Brookings Institution. A Secret Service agent had to restrain a TPPD officer from attacking protesters. During another U.S. visit, the TPPD decided to push Secret Service agents assigned to Erdogan’s detail. In a 2015 visit to Brussels, a TPPD officer attacked a Belgian government bodyguard. In 2009, the TPPD entered President Obama’s inner protective bubble. In 2011, then-prime minister Erdogan’s detail attacked security officers at U.N. headquarters. Thuggery is a prerequisite for Erdogan’s protection details.
These incidents don’t take place in a vacuum. On the contrary, they are a metaphor for Turkey’s descent from Islamic democracy into Islamic autocracy. As Erdogan centralizes power and attacks his opponents, the TPPD has morphed from law enforcement into suited thuggery.
Still, in this latest incident — a premeditated assault on the U.S. constitutional right to peaceful protest — the TPPD has crossed a line. It, and the Turkish government more broadly, must face consequences for their actions. For a start, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson needs to show public anger. Outdoing yesterday’s placid semi-condemnation from the State Department, Tillerson should summon the Turkish ambassador and call out Turkey’s breach of U.S. law. Tillerson should also — and specifically — note the TPPD’s ludicrous hypocrisy.