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Michael Rubin: Why are Erdogan’s Thugs Running Free in DC?

This article first appeared on the American Enterprise Institute site.[1]

For the second time in as many years, Turkish security officers attacked Turkish protesters and other bystanders in Washington, DC. Last year, the venue was the Brookings Institution[2], where members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan s entourage tried to forcibly remove invited guests and journalists whom they believed might ask tough questions. That the guards came prepared to intercept certain people shows a degree of planning that makes what already was a bad situation even worse.

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Michael Rubin: Why Are Erdogan's Thugs Running Free In DC?Donald Trump welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in Washington, DC, May 16, 2017. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

This year, the attack happened outside the Turkish ambassador s home, where the Atlantic Council had handpicked a friendly audience to engage with Erdogan.

Related: Michael Rubin : More Evidence of Erdogan’s Referendum Rigging[4]

The video of the attack is disturbing and appears to show Erdogan watching[5] the charge of some security guards into the crowd to beat, strangle and stomp on demonstrators. Unlike at Brookings, videos show not only security guards involved in the melee, but also at least one journalist[6] from Turkey s state-controlled outlets like Anadolu Agency.

The initial State Department response was weak. Yes, many in Erdogan s entourage have diplomatic immunity, but diplomatic immunity can be waived. And if the Turkish ambassador chooses not to do so, there can be consequences such as declaring certain officials persona non grata and demanding they leave Washington.

Related: Michael Rubin : Erdogan’s Dangerous Game Against the Kurds[7]

Turkish journalists who participated in the ruckus should face their day in court and, if found guilty, should serve their sentence in prison for assault. And, at the very least, every Erdogan guard accompanying the president on his trip to Washington should be blacklisted from the United States for life. Fool me once, fool me twice, but do not fool me a third time. The problem here is deeper than a single incident. As the antics of Erdogan s aides and the Turkish Embassy in Washington escalate and if the State Department does nothing significant to address the problem Washington could one day soon see a situation reminiscent of the 1984 Yvonne Fletcher murder in London.

In that case, a British policewoman securing a protest at the Libyan Embassy to the United Kingdom was shot and killed[8] by a gunmen from inside the embassy who was shielded by Libyan claims of immunity. Congress is also at fault. Congressmen and senators joining the Congressional Turkey Caucus[9] through their membership endorse Erdogan s actions. With regard to autocrats, weakness encourages misbehavior. No longer is the issue Turkish diplomatic sensitivity. When it comes to Americans safety at home, security and lawfulness are issues the State Department should never sacrifice.

Michael Rubin, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ This article first appeared on the American Enterprise Institute site. (
  2. ^ venue was the Brookings Institution (
  3. ^ Subscribe to Newsweek from $1 per week (
  4. ^ Michael Rubin : More Evidence of Erdogan’s Referendum Rigging (
  5. ^ show Erdogan watching (
  6. ^ also at least one journalist (
  7. ^ Michael Rubin : Erdogan’s Dangerous Game Against the Kurds (
  8. ^ shot and killed (
  9. ^ Congressional Turkey Caucus (
  10. ^ Michael Rubin, (
  11. ^ American Enterprise Institute, (
  12. ^ Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes (

Victims In Meek Mill Concert Shooting Sue Rapper, Oakdale Theatre

The family of a New Haven man shot and killed following a Meek Mill[1] rap concert at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in December filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the venue and the rapper. Travis Ward was gunned down in the parking lot of the Wallingford facility on Dec. 30, 2016 as he was celebrating his 31st birthday with his family. Jaquan Graves, 20, also from New Haven was also killed. No arrests have been made. Two others were injured including Nathan Mitchell, who also is a party in the lawsuit filed in Waterbury Superior Court by New Haven attorney Joel Faxon. Mitchell and Ward did not know each other.

The lawsuit alleges that Oakdale and concert promoters didn’t provide enough security or take measures to control the crowd even though they were aware other Meek Mill’s concerts had ended in gun violence.

“With song titles like ‘body count’ and ‘oh kill’em’ that praise indiscriminate killing and mayhem, the potential for tragic incidents like this should have been properly anticipated and planned for by Meek Mill, his concert promoters and the Oakdale Theatre,” Faxon said Tuesday. The lawsuit seeks more than $15,000 in damages. Ward was shot several times and died at the scene. He had attended the concert with family members celebrating his birthday. Mitchell was shot once in the right side. The lawsuit claims that security for the concert was “grossly understaffed” and since the shooting Oakdale has significantly increased security but “far too late for Ward,” the lawsuit said.

Meek Mill is a well-known rap artist. Violence has broken out at other concerts of his. In both Danbury and Wilmington, Del. there were shootings outside of the concert venue once the show ended.

“The venue security was grossly understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with the hazardous environment presented by any Meek Mill concert,” Faxon said. “A strong police presence was required. They were innocent bystanders who ended up in a war zone.”

The shooting occurred moments after the concert ended as people exited into the parking lot. Ward was apparently caught in the crossfire as shots rang out. Faxon said there was no evidence he was targeted and Ward didn’t have a weapon. Wallingford police interviewed several people who were at the concert with the victims. State Police recovered several shell casings but no weapons were found. Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, had been under house arrest for violating probation for the fourth time in eight years for a gun and drug conviction. Mill, who grew up in Philadelphia, lost his father and a cousin to gun violence.

A video posted on YouTube appears to show Meek Mill leaving the Oakdale when a shot is fired.

“Look, there’s Meek,” a male voice says, and then the shot is heard. A security guard approaches the person shooting video and tells him and his friends to get down.


  1. ^ Meek Mill (

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly concert blast in Manchester, monitoring group says

MANCHESTER, England The Islamic State claimed Tuesday that one of its soldiers carried out an apparent suicide blast in Manchester that killed at least 22 people, including teenagers and others streaming out of a pop concert.

The claim came as British investigators appeared to narrow their probe on one suspected assailant whose name was not made public and police teams fanned out around the northern city after the worst terrorist strike in Britain in more than a decade. The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out late Monday. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites. The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous claims have not been proven.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the carnage a callous terrorist attack. Other condemnations from other leaders poured in from around the world.

This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives, she said, speaking outside her Downing Street offices, where flags were lowered to half-staff. Authorities believe they know the identity of the assailant, she added, but at this stage of their investigations, we cannot confirm his name. The Greater Manchester Police said in a statement that they arrested a 23-year-old man in south Manchester in connection with the attack, as hundreds of police swarmed through the city in the aftermath of the blast.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the Islamic State s claim of responsibility for the Manchester attack, we have not verified yet the connection. He noted in a Senate hearing that they claim responsibility for virtually every attack. The tally of the casualties carried ages as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were under 16 years old. Among those killed, Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student, was the first victim to be named. British media also reported that an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, could have been the youngest fatality.

We believe at this stage the attack last night was conducted by one man, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said at a televised news conference. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.

Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Deadly Concert Blast In Manchester, Monitoring Group Says

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared[1]]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged absolute solidarity with Britain and called those responsible for the attack evil losers in life. The bombing appeared intended to inflict maximum bloodshed on the young concert goers many of them in their early teens who were making their way out of the Manchester Arena, one of Europe s largest indoor venues, with a seating capacity of 21,000. The blast occurred about 10:30 p.m., minutes after pop star Ariana Grande [2]had finished her set and many fans were gathered in the foyer to buy concert merchandise.

The explosion set off a panicked reaction as fans struggled to flee and parents and teens searched for one another amid the carnage. Parents who had lost contact with their children posted desperate pleas for information on social media using the hashtag #ManchesterMissing. Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was phoning everybody, including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter on Monday night at the concert.

She d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go, she said in an emotional interview. The attack took place near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station.

Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible.

You can t stop people from getting through the train station, said Taylor. Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena s entrance, though bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded.

There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station, said Harrison, 44.

[In the midst of Manchester s terror, strangers reach out through Twitter[3]]

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, called it an evil act but praised the spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together. Manchester is grieving today, but we are strong, he said.

It was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people[4]. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Monday [5]that there was no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States, but added that Americans may see increased security [6]in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

[Trump decries the losers who wage terrorism[7]]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks over the past year, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of a threat which is more present than ever before. Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the Manchester bombing as an attack on culture, youth and joyfulness and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is just 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day last July, killing 86 people.

Britain has been on high alert [8]for a major attack for several years, with authorities saying that a mass-casualty attack was likely. Grande, who is wildly popular both in Britain and the United States, was not injured in the attack. She expressed her sorrow in a tweet hours after the explosion, saying she was broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so sorry. i don t have words. A father told the BBC that he was leaving the arena with his wife and daughter when the blast blew him through a set of doors. Afterward, the man, identified as Andy, said he saw about 30 people scattered everywhere. Some of them looked dead.

Separated from his wife and daughter, he said, he looked at some of the bodies trying to find my family. He later found them, uninjured. Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that there were kids outside, crying on the phone, trying to find their parents.

The scenes of bloodied, panicked concertgoers running for safety brought to mind similar images at the Bataclan theater in Paris in November 2015. The concert hall became the scene of extreme carnage [9]after multiple gunmen burst in during a show by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal and began shooting. That attack for which the Islamic State later asserted responsibility killed 89 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest event on French soil since World War II. In all, 130 people were killed that night in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. Monday night s blast came two months after a speeding driver left four people dead on London s Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.

Monday also was the fourth anniversary of the killing of Lee Rigby[10], a British soldier who was attacked with a machete on the streets of southeast London. Two assailants, who were convicted of murder, said they were acting to avenge the killing of Muslims by British soldiers. In just over two weeks, Britain is scheduled to hold a national election. Campaigning was suspended Tuesday, and perhaps beyond. Security has not featured as a prominent part of the debate, although that may change when campaigning resumes. Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester, Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi o pia, and Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more

Four killed, 40 injured in vehicle and knife assault near Parliament[11]

After privileged childhood, London attacker became a troubled loner[12]

What we know about the victims of the London attack[13]

Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[14]

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news[15]


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  2. ^ Ariana Grande (
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  4. ^ killing 54 people (
  5. ^ said late Monday (
  6. ^ increased security (
  7. ^ [Trump decries the losers who wage terrorism (
  8. ^ high alert (
  9. ^ scene of extreme carnage (
  10. ^ killing of Lee Rigby (
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  14. ^ Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world (
  15. ^ Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news (