White House Denies Erdogan Claim That Trump Apologized For Violent DC Clash

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during a dinner at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (Presidency Press Service, Pool Photo via AP)
September 20, 2017 11:17 a.m.

The White House on Wednesday denied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim that President Donald Trump called him to apologize for an incident in May where Turkish security agents allegedly attacked protesters in Washington.

A White House spokesman told the Hill late Tuesday that Trump and Erdogan “discussed a wide range of issues but there was no apology.”

“It’s not true,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said, according to BuzzFeed News reporter John Hudson.

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told Yahoo News that Erdogan’s claim was “wrong.”

“The topic was discussed,” Anton said. “There was no apology.”

Washington, D.C. police in June issued arrest warrants for nine Turkish security guards and three Turkish police officers accused of attacking protesters who gathered outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence. A grand jury in August issued indictments for three more Turkish security officials charged with attacking protesters.

In an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff on Tuesday, Erdogan said Trump promised to “follow up” on the subject.

“How can you get along with President Trump, how can you do business with President Trump, when there is this fundamental disagreement over what happened that day?” Woodruff asked Erdogan.

“I’m very sorry about that. Actually, President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue,” Erdogan replied, through a translator. “He said that he was sorry, and he told me that he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit.”

The White House issued a readout on Sept. 9 of a call between the two leaders which made no mention of the May incident, saying that Trump “emphasized the common commitment of the United States and Turkey to work together to increase regional stability.”

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