Challenges with Turkey
U.S. relations with Turkey are among the knotty foreign policy challenges President Donald Trump faces. The country is an important ally against both Islamic terrorists and Russia.
But even in such a critical relationship, there are lines that U.S. officials cannot allow Turkey to cross. One of them is allowing Turkish security guards to beat people up in the United States.
Guards at the Turkish embassy in Washington reacted strongly to a group of protesters there last week. Video footage makes it clear the guards were both aggressive and, at times, brutal.
U.S. officials detained two of the guards briefly, then sent them back to Turkey. On Monday, the Turkish government protested, accusing American security personnel of “aggressive and unprofessional actions” toward the guards.
How the guards were treated was “contrary to diplomatic rules and practices,” Turkish officials insisted.
“Diplomatic immunity” goes only so far, despite what you may have seen in the movies. If the Turkish guards beat peaceful protesters, U.S. officials had no choice but to intervene.
The incident pales in comparison to other disputes between the United States and Turkey. Nevertheless, a full investigation is merited. If it shows U.S. officials were right about the guards, Washington should respond to Turkey with a polite but firm reminder that when we Americans host guests, we expect them to behave themselves.