Turkish government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said on Monday that charges brought against guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by the U.S. authorities have seriously damaged Ankara-Washington relations.
"Many are trying to spoil the relations between Turkey and the United States. They should not be allowed to do this. Unfortunately, the incident with the guards of our president has caused great damage to our relations. Washington has prepared an indictment against 15 security guards, four of whom were not even involved in the incident," Bozdağ told reporters.
In late August, the U.S. government brought charges against 19 people, including 15 officers of the Turkish security services, for attacking participants of a protest rally during Erdogan's visit to Washington in May.
According to Bozdağ, the indictment against Erdoğan's guards was based on the testimonies of supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a designated terrorist group in Turkey.
On May 16, Erdoğan's security personnel clashed with Kurdish protesters in the vicinity of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington during the visit of the Turkish president to the United States. At least nine people were injured, and two people were arrested during the brawl.
Videos of the incident showed Erdoğan's bodyguards hitting and kicking protesters as the president looked on from his car.
ANKARA URGES IRAQI KURDS TO CALL OFF VOTE ON INDEPENDENCE
Speaking to reporters Monday following a Cabinet meeting, Bozdağ also said the referendum slated for Sept. 25 will add to problems in the conflict-ridden region. He said: "This referendum is of no benefit to (Kurdish regional President Masoud) Barzani, it is of no benefit to Kurds, it is of no benefit to the people of the region."
The minister said: "I call on Mr. Barzani to call off this referendum."