Diplomatic Immunity Protects Even Erdogan’s Thugs. We Have to Live with That
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
On Tuesday, a melee took place outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting the United States. Authorities say members of Erdogan’s security detail and security guards from the Turkish Embassy were among those who clashed with peaceful protesters. Many officials — including members of Congress, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and a State Department spokesperson — have justifiably expressed outrage at the assaults, which not only sent nine people to the hospital but also took a swipe at the type of First Amendment activity we see as critical to a democracy. “This is the United States of America,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior.” Worse, some of the alleged assailants might not be subject to criminal prosecution because they hold diplomatic or similar immunities.