"Now when anyone mentions Erdogan's visit to Washington, this is the first thing that comes to mind – unacceptable and disruptive behavior of the bodyguards of the Turkish head of state. Sadly, after similar incidents Turkey's image abroad, which has not been too positive to begin with, has been ultimately reduced to nothing," she said.
Zaman knows firsthand what happened at the Brookings Institution shortly before Erdogan was scheduled to deliver a speech at the Washington-based think tank. Erdogan's bodyguards verbally insulted the journalist.
Here: Erdoğan's bodyguards come at journalist Amberin Zaman in front of Brookings. pic.twitter.com/QCX7LCu8q4— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) 31 марта 2016 г.
Zaman added that the bodyguards acted as if they considered themselves to be above the law.
"The Washington visit ended with scenes making a mockery of Turkey's image. While Erdogan was telling Americans that Turkey is a democratic and free country that guarantees freedom of expression, scenes outside were contradicting him," Turkish journalist Fehim Taştekin wrote for al-Monitor.
Following a brief meeting with Erdogan, US President Barack Obama said he was troubled with the current trend in Turkey and urged Ankara to refrain from pursing "a strategy that involves repression of information and shutting down democratic debate."