'Erdoğan's bodyguards' beat up protesters in D.C. while Turkish leader met Trump at White House


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/17/erdogans-dc-beatdown.html


It’s the perfect loophole. Have thugs with diplomatic immunity come in and take care of dissenters.


Diplomatic immunity can always be revoked. Too bad the republican party doesn’t think beating up protesters is a bad thing.


Someone better call in Danny Glover.


It can’t be revoked retroactively, though. All a government can do is throw someone out. and work with the other government to prosecute the offender there. (In this case the Turkish government wouldn’t, I’m sure)

However, I doubt that bodyguards get diplomatic immunity per se. While the US pushes for their Secret Service agents to get it, most governments are loathe to give it. Can’t image the US government handing this out to middle powers.

And the lesser immunity doesn’t apply here, as the bodyguards are not protecting their charge from attack, as quelling protests is beyond bodily protection.


Doesn’t Diplomatic Immunity only mean “immunity from prosecution”? So if a diplomat pulled out a gun to shoot someone, the police could tackle him or her and take the gun away, but there would be no prosecution for assault/attempted murder, just a deportation. They wouldn’t stand by and watch the murder happen.

So in this case, I think the DC police could have (and should have) stopped the thugs, given them a bit of a pounding themselves, then sent them packing, no?

Secret Service may not get diplomatic immunity (though maybe immunity from prosecution for official acts, depending on the host country), but the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service do, AFAIK; so the thugs were probably members of Turkey’s equivalent service, and if so probably do have diplomatic immunity.


Yes, that too. You also can tow cars with diplomatic plates, as long as you don’t open them, I think. You can’t enforce the fees, though, or lock them away.


Someone ought to tell Trump that only a leader with tiny hands would let foreigns get away with acting up like that.

Also, did Erdogan get real diplomats for his thug squad, or people with some lesser flavor of diplomat-adjacent privilege?

In at least one case, somebody has learned the hard way that the immunity of lower tier diplomatic functionaries isn’t as cool as the diplomatic flavor.


This actually made for an interesting study looking at the impact of a country’s institutions and level of corruption on individual behavior, using data on parking violations by diplomats in New York:


Well the Post says two arrested. That’s probably not enough, but it doesn’t sound like impunity. I would be interested to learn more details. Were there more than two attackers? Are we able to identify any others? Are the police looking for them?


:smiley: I wonder at what point in the altercation, the goons identified themselves as “diplomats”.

Surely if people want to enjoy the “immunity” part, they should abide by the “diplomatic” bit. Something more like, “Erdogan’s Bodyguard Engaged In Robust Discussion With Kurdish Protesters”.

Apparenty (from Wikipedia), “The Vienna Convention is explicit that “without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.””


I’m not sure that the DOJ or the State Department are obliged to agree; but it’s pretty clear that Erdogan considers guarding his rather fragile ego to be an important part of official security work.


Unfortunately it has long been custom and practice for thugs and spies to have diplomatic cover. This is why periodically there are evictions from embassies as secret services decide that there is more to be gained from mutual expulsions than is lost.

The laws of the United States don’t seem to protect brown and black people as well as they do white people, though. So there is that.


Just think – if those bodyguards had been just a bit darker of skin, the cops might have mistaken them for “urban Americans,” shot them, and no harm no foul.


Actually, this could be a very good business opportunity for embassy staff on the side. US officials get plausible deniability, the disruptive influences get a lesson, and the guest country cuts its net costs.

Everybody wins.


Isn’t a foreign power attacking American citizens in the heart of its capital city an act of war?


Erdoğan Graciously Declines Prosecution For Damage To His Follower’s Hands And Feet Caused By Dangerous Protesters


That is the money quote… :wink:


Why would it be? America routinely murders civilians in other countries, allied or not, with almost total impunity.

Pretty much every nation on the planet has a cassus belli against the USA if we’re holding to a Jenkin’s Ear standard.


US government pretty much insists on carte blanche for the thugs it brings with the Terrorist in Chief when he visits another country: karma’s a motherfucker.