In a statement, Turkey's ministry of foreign affairs said the arrest of Erdogan's bodyguards is “wrong, biased and lacks legal basis" following the melee that sent nine protesters to the hospital.
“That the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the US authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place,” the ministry's statement reads, according to reports.
In televised remarks Thursday night, Erdogan furiously attacked his NATO ally for the arrests.
“They have incarcerated our citizens. How is that possible? What type of legislation is this? What type of law?” Erdogan demanded.
He explained that his bodyguards' presence at the brawl was merely to protect him despite video that shows him watching from a nearby car while his guards are fighting.
“Why would I take my guards to the United States if not to protect myself?” Erdogan asked.
Erdogan continued, vowing to “fight politically and judicially” against the arrests.
D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said that the violence at the embassy was unprecedented, and that the Turkish Embassy's "self-defense" explanation wouldn't fly.
"We all saw the violence that was perpetrated against the protesters,” Newsham said. “We’re not going to tolerate this.”
“We are hopeful that those responsible will do their part and present themselves to answer to these charges,” he said at a Thursday press conference.