Two US-based Turkish journalists have reported being assaulted by bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit with US Vice-President Joe Biden last week.
The journalist claim they were verbally assaulted by the bodyguards, as well as being physically pushed away from the lobby of the hotel they were in.
The journalists were Ali Halit Aslan of Zaman and Adam Yavuz Arslan of Bugün, two newspapers both known for their criticisms of the Turkish government.
It is thought that the bodyguards of President Erdogan were aware of the journalists identities and were trying to prevent them from contacting Erdogan in a country where they were free to question him without fear of arrest.
During the attempt to remove Aslan from the hotel in which President Erdogan was at US police intervened and stopped the bodyguards. All journalists were however then asked to leave the building.
News of the assault created upset in several international groups. Freedom of information group Reporters Without Borders condemned the actions of President Erdogan’s staff stating:
“It is unacceptable that Turkish government representatives had no qualms about assaulting two journalists, outside their country and during a major bilateral meeting, and it shows how the Turkish authorities are now taking a much tougher line with the media.”
Currently no statement has been made by the office of President Erdogan following the incident.