Turkish president: Trump told me he was ‘sorry’ for bloody protest in DC

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Screenshot via VOA Turkish

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that US President Donald Trump apologized to him over a violent clash that occurred in May between Turkish officials and protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC.

“I’m very sorry about that,” Erdogan told Judy Woodruff of PBS Newshour in a clip released Tuesday. “Actually, President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue. He said that he was sorry, and he told me that he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit.”

Video from the protest, which occurred while Erdogan was visiting the United States, showed Turkish security guards and Erdogan supporters attacking a group of protesters, in some cases punching and repeatedly kicking protesters lying on the ground.

A Washington grand jury later indicted 19 people involved in the attack, 15 of whom were identified as Turkish security officials. But Erdogan maintains that the protesters instigated the aggression, and blamed local law enforcement for not stepping in sooner.

Woodruff questioned Erdogan on the discrepancy in his account, prompting the Turkish leader to apologize.

It was unclear from the clip what exactly Erdogan was apologizing for, and the Turkish leader didn’t elaborate on his claim of Trump’s apology.

Foreign-policy experts agreed the incident likely complicated an already-strained US relationship with Turkey. Several US officials condemned the violence and demanded a firm response.

All 19 of those indicted in June are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence and face up to 15 years in prison. However, all but two of them remain at large.

Watch the clip below:

.@RT_Erdogan tells @JudyWoodruff Trump calledhim abt incident in DC this summer to say he was sorry + wanted to”follow up on this issue.” pic.twitter.com/CoVXYFamDV

@RT_Erdogan@JudyWoodruffpic.twitter.com/CoVXYFamDVSeptember19, 2017