Germany released a warning to Turkey that certain members of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s personal staff are not welcome at the G20 summit in Hamburg after a brawl erupted between Erdogan’s security team and protesters in Washington D.C.
The G20 summit is a global convention of the twenty largest economies in the world, also including certain guest nations. Its leaders meet annually to discuss and promote global financial stability. This year, the summit was held on July 7 and 8 in Hamburg.
On May 16, Erdogan’s security personnel were involved in a brawl with embassy staff and protesters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The incident occurred outside the Turkish ambassador’s home in Washington, D.C. Turkish security staff encouraged the fight, which resulted in nine people being hospitalized. Following the incident, two members of the security staff were detained by D.C. police, but quickly released.
On June 15th, Washington D.C. police issued arrest warrants for 12 members of the security staff, eliciting an official protest from both Erdogan and Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs to the U.S. ambassador.
In light of the ongoing criminal charges, Max Schafer, the spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry, said, “I have reason to expect that these people, who have been incriminated by the American criminal justice (system), will not step onto German soil in the foreseeable future, including during the G20 summit.”
While the convention always attracts huge protests, this year more than 50-100 thousand protesters are expected. The German Police force stationed more than 15,000 officers in Hamburg, in addition to various armoured vehicles and drones for security reasons.
These additional precautions by Germany is an attempt to prevent further violence among the protesters. It’s been reported that members of the PKK, whom Turkey accused of instigating the incident in D.C., and members of the far-right nationalist group Grey Wolves will be in attendance.
This is not the first time that Erdogan’s guards have attracted scrutiny for physical confrontation. Last year in April at the Brookings Institute, a famous American foreign policy think tank, Erdogan’s guards roughed up protesters outside and evicted Turkish journalists, drawing ire as Erdogan was delivering a talk on the integrity of free speech in Turkey.
Germany has appeared unified in keeping guards out of Hamburg. Hamburg Senator Andy Grote told Die Welt, “On our streets, only the Hamburg police have a say — and no one else. This includes foreign security forces.”
Turkey has yet to comment on the situation.