The New York Times has analyzed videos of 24 men – some of whom were members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail -attacking protestors last week, and one of the videos appears to show the guards starting the fight moments after speaking to the Turkish leader.
Eleven people, including one police officer, were injured in the May 16 brawl outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC. Many of the injured were US citizens.
The protesters carried signs and chanted slogans like “Erdogan is a dictator,” “Ergodan is ISIS,” and “Mr. Trump, please stop him,” before the attack, according to the Washington Post.
The attackers kicked people multiple times while they were helpless on the ground.
One of the guards choked 26-year-old Ceren Borazan and slammed her to the ground. “He was saying ‘You are dead,'” Borazan told The Times. “I felt so awful. As a woman, as an American, as a Kurd. Right now I don’t even feel safe here.”
While his role in the fight is unclear, Erdogan sat in a black Mercedes-Benz and watched it unfold.
— Amerika’nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 18, 2017
One video shows Erdogan’s head of security, Muhsin Kose, speaking to the Turkish leader, and then speaking into his earpiece, before rushing in and starting the fight with three other guards.
Erdogan’s presidency has been harsh on Turkish journalists. He has jailed at least 144 journalists and shut down or took control of more than 150 media outlets since 2014.
In July 2016, a faction of the Turkish military attempted to overthrow Erdogan, who blamed the coup attempt on a Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher Fethullah Gülen. At least 248 people were killed, and over one thousand more were injured.
He still managed to get re-elected in April, however, despite many in the opposition parties claiming the votes were manipulated.
The US State Department condemned last week’s attack, and some lawmakers have called for the guards to be prosecuted, but no charges have been filed.