What Really Happened To Terdogan?
The U.N. has placed as many as half a dozen security guards on administrative duty pending an investigation into their involvement in a violent brawl on Friday with the security detail for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.N. sources told Turtle Bay.
The melee began after the Turkish prime minister was blocked by U.N. security guards as he sought to walk from a meeting room outside the General Assembly hall to the General Assembly chamber, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was preparing to deliver his historic speech announcing plans to declare its bid for membership in the United Nations as a state.
The brawl, which landed at least one U.N. official in the hospital with badly bruised ribs, involved a misunderstanding over the route Erdogan and his entourage took to reach the General Assembly, officials said. The exit they were trying to proceed through, according to U.N. officials and sources close to the Turkish delegation, didn’t actually lead to the General Assembly. But Erdogan and his security staff insisted on pressing ahead.
It remains unclear exactly what happened next, but a Turkish journalist, Kahraman Haliscelik, of Turkish Radio Television (TRT), said two of his colleagues, who were traveling with the Prime Minister, claimed that U.N. guards threatened “to stop them with force,” and that the two sides began pushing. “There was some physical contact with the prime minister and so that set off the Turkish security” agents, Haliscelik said.
But the U.N.’s response to the incident has infuriated U.N. rank and file security guards, according to several U.N. sources, who claim that the Turkish security agents have bullied their way around the Turtle Bay headquarters during the General Assembly session.
The email, which was written by the second vice president of the U.N. Staff Union, Timothy J. Kennedy, and obtained by Turtle Bay, said the “entire Security and Safety Service has been dealing with the aggressive nature of the security apparatus of this particular detail all week long. It has shoved many officers, fraudulently utilized ministerial ID’s for access, and assaulted at least one of our officers (previously, as well as today). I have advised our officers who’ve been injured and/or assaulted to make police reports to the 17th [precinct], and have themselves checked at the hospital; as well as take picture of their injuries.”
Sounds to me like the Turkish security have been acting like thugs, and an apology is in order.
Meanwhile, on a more positive note, Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer club has written the following letter to thank UEFA, the Turkish team they recently played, as well as Turkish authorities.