June 26, 2017 / 2:22 PM / 2 years ago

Germany does not expect charged Erdogan bodyguards to attend G20

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan talks to media after the Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul, Turkey, June 25, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany said on Monday it does not expect Turkish security and police officers who were charged with assault after an attack on protesters in Washington to accompany Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to next week’s G20 summit in Hamburg.

The charges against some members of Erdogan’s security detail came after a May 16 skirmish during his visit to the U.S. capital last month in which nine protesters were injured outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.

The episode strained U.S.-Turkey ties at a time when the NATO allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria, and risks inflicting more damage on already soured relations between Ankara and Berlin.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said foreign leaders were welcome to bring their own bodyguards to meetings in Germany but that the law must be respected.

With regard to the Turkish security officers, he added: “I have reason to expect that these people, who have been incriminated by the American criminal justice (system) will not step onto German soil in the foreseeable future, including during the G20 summit.”

Turkey has condemned the charges and said the Turkish citizens, who left the United States with Erdogan, should not be held responsible for the incident.

Turkey is a member of the G20 and Erdogan is due to attend the July 7-8 summit in Hamburg.

Turkey’s ties with Germany and other European Union states deteriorated in the run-up to Turkey’s April 16 referendum that handed Erdogan stronger presidential powers.

A dispute over access for German lawmakers to German troops stationed at an airbase in southern Turkey has further strained ties, and Germany is pulling out of the base.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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