The US Supreme Court rejected Turkey’s attempt to stop lawsuits in US courts related to a violent altercation that took place outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington in 2017 and left anti-government protestors injured.
In rejecting Turkey’s claims that American law protects foreign nations from most litigation, the justices made no comments.
Lower courts decided that those rights did not apply to the incidents on May 16, 2017, when, in the words of one judge, “Turkish security personnel physically clashed with a gathering of demonstrators” during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The ruling of the Supreme Court permits the litigation to go forward.
Lawsuits allege vicious attacks and kicking by Turkey’s security
Six officers from the US Secret Service, two from the diplomatic service and one from the Washington police required medical treatment.
The worst injuries, however, were suffered by a small group of protesters, which included women, children, and elderly men who were punched and pushed.
In addition to experiencing seizures and slipping in and out of consciousness, one woman also complained of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, concussions, and nightmares.
Turkey claimed it had to use force in the US to defend Erdogan
Erdogan’s security detail had the right to use physical force, according to Turkish government attorneys who testified in court, because they were defending the country’s leader from a potentially dangerous circumstance.
Some of the demonstrators were labeled as “supporters of a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization that poses a significant national security threat to Turkey,” according to the statement.
Erdogan visited the White House, where he and former President Donald Trump committed to cooperating in the battle against the Islamic State group. As Erdogan was returning to the ambassador’s residence, violence broke out.
After arriving at the ambassador’s residence, a brief struggle resumed while Erdogan remained in his car. According to lawsuits, he authorized a second, more severe assault. Turkey claims he didn’t request this.