Will Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan apologize to the UN and its staff for the beatings his hoodlums gave them? One has injured ribs, another is on crutches, a female has signs on her face and UNSG Ban Ki-moon was left spineless. The Foreign Policy UN blog reports that the Turks tried to force through a wrong door the way for PM Erdogan to be present at the Palestinian’s speech before the UNGA.
UN Guard Officer Matthew Sullivan with injured ribs and a female officer beaten in the face, another male UN Security officer was left walking on crutches and was suspended then on “administrative leave” after Ban apologized to the Turks.
We happen to know officer Matthew Sullivan from a case he looked into when an NGO lady with oil connections got over excited at renewable energy. This officer is about the best the UN has, and I believe he did not act in any haste. So why did they beat him when he was probably just trying to keep the place orderly? We were not there but the reactions seem obvious.
After Apologizing to Turks, Now Ban Thanks UN Security for Restraint.
By Matthew Russell Lee
Fast reactions from UN staff included disgust, amazement and anger. Why did Ban immediately apologize to Turkey, even as at least three UN Security officers lay injured? One, Inner City Press has learned, is still using crutches.
Meanwhile questions have arising about the role of the UN’s Protocol Office. For three days, Inner City Press has asked a simple factual question: how many extra ID passes to enter the UN were given to the Turkish delegation?
On September 27, Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said he would check. But he had no answer on September 28, or since. The goal seems to be to have the story die, due to lack of answers.
But the UN is a public organization. On September 28, Inner City Press asked the spokeswoman for the President of the General Assembly, who referred all questions back to Nesirky, who would not answer them.
Meanwhile UN Security sources said that beyond Officer Matthew Sullivan with injured ribs and the female officer beaten in the face, another male UN Security officer was left walking on crutches, suspended then on “administrative leave” after Ban apologized to the Turks.
Ban & Security chief Staff: thanks for nothing, guards say.
The level of anger at Ban is growing, but as numerous of Ban’s guards tell Inner City Press, Ban is totally isolated, “living in his own world.”
And from the world, here’s is Ban’s belated double speak:
Message from the Secretary-General
Posted: Thursday, 29 September 2011, New York | Author: Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon
As the 66th General Debate draws to a close, I would like to express my immense gratitude to all officials and staff of the UN Secretariat for their hard work and dedication. The demands have been great and, as ever, you have risen to the occasion.
In particular, I wish to thank the Protocol and Security Officers of the United Nations. The pressures they faced in performing their duties were especially difficult, and they met these pressures with dignity, restraint and high professionalism in the best tradition of the Organisation.
To all, I ask that you accept my sincere thanks and deep appreciation for your commitment to the great causes that bind us.
Posted By Colum Lynch Monday, September 26, 2011
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s security detail got into a violent brawl on Friday with U.N. security guards outside the General Assembly hall, leaving at least two U.N. personnel injured, including one who was taken to the hospital, possibly with broken ribs, according to U.N. diplomats and officials.
The altercation occurred as Erdogan, who was at a meeting on a floor above the U.N. General Assembly entrance, learned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was about to begin his historic speech announcing his bid to become a U.N. member state.
The Turkish leader tried to rush to get into the U.N. chamber to take his seat.
Erdogan and his entourage, however, were stopped at an exit near the meeting room and told they could not enter the hall from that exit. The Turkish guards demanded that their prime minister be allowed to pass, and allegedly pushed the U.N. security guards. The U.N. guards pushed back, and the Turks apparently began swinging. One diplomat who was working on the floor two stories below said he could hear the fighting.
Within minutes, U.N. police radioed for help, sending reinforcements rushing to the scene from outside the General Assembly and from the U.N. Security Council, where police radios blared “security breach, security breach,” according to a diplomat.
The U.N., meanwhile, sealed off the entrance to the U.N. General Assembly hall, according to another diplomat who had just left the building when the fight broke out. They also evacuated a working area just outside the General Assembly chamber, forcing diplomats out into the pouring rain, according to diplomats.
It remained unclear whether Erdogan ever made it to Abbas’s speech. But the two leaders met shortly after the speech for a bilateral meeting on Palestinian-Turkish relations. During the meeting, tensions flared up again after a member of the Turkish delegation spotted a top U.N. security official. There are sharply differing accounts of what happened then, with one official saying that fighting broke out again, and another saying that it stopped at raised voices.
The U.N. is seeking to prevent the incident, first reported by Inner City Press, from developing into a major international dispute, and is expected to issue a statement that will try to put the matter behind them.
Update: More details on the brawl here.
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and later – same day –
Posted By Colum Lynch Monday, September 26, 2011
The U.N. has placed as many as half a dozen security guards on administrative duty pending an investigation into their involvement in a violent brawl on Friday with the security detail for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.N. sources told Turtle Bay.
The melee began after the Turkish prime minister was blocked by U.N. security guards as he sought to walk from a meeting room outside the General Assembly hall to the General Assembly chamber, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was preparing to deliver his historic speech announcing plans to declare its bid for membership in the United Nations as a state.
The brawl, which landed at least one U.N. official in the hospital with badly bruised ribs, involved a misunderstanding over the route Erdogan and his entourage took to reach the General Assembly, officials said. The exit they were trying to proceed through, according to U.N. officials and sources close to the Turkish delegation, didn’t actually lead to the General Assembly. But Erdogan and his security staff insisted on pressing ahead.
It remains unclear exactly what happened next, but a Turkish journalist, Kahraman Haliscelik, of Turkish Radio Television (TRT), said two of his colleagues, who were traveling with the Prime Minister, claimed that U.N. guards threatened “to stop them with force,” and that the two sides began pushing. “There was some physical contact with the prime minister and so that set off the Turkish security” agents, Haliscelik said.
Haliscelik also said that later that afternoon, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon walked across the street of the U.N. headquarters to the Turkish mission, where Erdogan was holding a meeting with former U.S President Bill Clinton. “The secretary general went over to apologize for the incident,” he said.
U.N. officials, however, provided few details on the incident and did not even identify Turkey as the country that was involved in the fight. Martin Nesirky, Ban’s top spokesman, said that Ban had indeed met with Erdogan but declined to say whether Ban had apologized or not.
Nesirky said there had been “some unfortunate misunderstanding” between U.N. security and members of an unnamed delegation on Friday, but that these differences have “been satisfactorily resolved. Necessary action has been taken, including looking at what happened and trying to establish precisely what happened to help avoid such misunderstandings in the future.”
There remained considerable confusion over the extent of the fighting, including whether a second round of fighting erupted later in the day, when Erdogan and his entourage met with Abbas. It remains unclear how many officers were injured and whether they were hurt in the initial incident or during Erdogan’s meeting with Abbas.
But the U.N.’s response to the incident has infuriated U.N. rank and file security guards, according to several U.N. sources, who claim that the Turkish security agents have bullied their way around the Turtle Bay headquarters during the General Assembly session.
Shortly after the incident, the U.N.’s security chief, Gregory Starr, who formerly served as the U.S. State Department’s security chief, suspended several police officers involved in the fight until an investigation has been carried out.
The officers’ staff union objected to the decision, and pressed Starr to place them on “administrative duties (plain clothes, no weapons…) in keeping with due process,” according to an email the U.N. staff sent to Starr. Starr agreed.
The email, which was written by the second vice president of the U.N. Staff Union, Timothy J. Kennedy, and obtained by Turtle Bay, said the “entire Security and Safety Service has been dealing with the aggressive nature of the security apparatus of this particular detail all week long. It has shoved many officers, fraudulently utilized ministerial ID’s for access, and assaulted at least one of our officers (previously, as well as today). I have advised our officers who’ve been injured and/or assaulted to make police reports to the 17th [precinct], and have themselves checked at the hospital; as well as take picture of their injuries.”
After the first altercation, Erdogan, after being spirited back to his mission by his security guards, finally made for the second half of Abbas’s speech with his delegation. This time, U.N. security let him pass. “They looked very stressed,” said a diplomat who saw the Turks take their seats in the General Assembly hall.
The positive side of this miserable behavior of the Turks was that despite the way UN high officials believe that they are above the law – it was the vice president of the UN Staff Union that showed real leadership and had the officers complain to a US – New York police Precinct (the 17th) and have themselves checked by a US hospital rather then keep it as an internal UN issue. OUR Kudos to him.
The spokesman for the UN Secretary General, on the other hand, just continued to say what the upper level of the Secretariat was telling him to say – and by doing so dug deeper and deeper the hole in which Mr. Ban Ki-moon found himself. But don’t worry – at the UN no quota-based appointee will ever get fired – this unless they do the mistake of running against the Secretary General himself , as the previous head of DPI did five years ago.
Back to Mr. Erdogan who last time put up battle to help Hamas which is the organizational enemy of Mr. Abbas, and which we call Palestine II – was this new battle intended to show that he is ready to fight also for what we call Palestine I as well? Was this a premeditated mistake? One could think so – after all the UN may be less inclined to defend themselves, he might have thought, then the Israelis are. Then what about the large number of Turkish UN pass holders that entered the battle. Is there any photo of the aggressors? But don’t worry on this either – it would be bad diplomacy to go for attempt at punishment of a favored UN Member State’s diplomats. It will be easier to go after the Security officers.
CASE CLOSED SO FAR AS I AM CONCERNED – I DO NOT EXPECT UN JUSTICE.