Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to reporters in Istanbul on September 1. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the indictment in the United States of more than a dozen Turkish security officials as a "scandalous" example of how American justice works.
"This, in and of itself, is a scandal. It's a clear and scandalous expression of how justice works in America," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Friday.
The District of Columbia Superior Court has indicted 19 people accused of attacking demonstrators gathered outside the Turkish ambassador's home, where Erdogan was visiting on May 16.
Of those indicted, 15 are Turkish security officials. Videos of the melee showed Erdogan looking on as he exited his motorcade.
Sixteen of the defendants were charged in June while a grand jury decision on Tuesday added three more suspects, including security head Muhsin Kose.
The protestors, who included US citizens, as well as Kurds, Yezidis and Armenians carried anti-Erdogan signs and flags of the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD).
The YPG are a diverse, but primarily Kurdish group fighting against ISIS in northern Syria with the backing of the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a banned party in Turkey that has renewed its 33-year-long guerrilla war with the Turkish government. YPG denies any organic links to the PKK.
"If the security units of the United States of America are not able to fulfill their duties to protect, are my security officials not supposed to fulfill their duties [to protect] against an attack on us by members of the separatist terror organization PKK? They performed their duties against this attack."
The United States and Turkey both have designated the PKK to be a terrorist organization.