President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the attacker who attacked the Turkish diplomatic building with a crowbar a “terrorist”.
US police have detained a man accused of attacking the Turkish embassy in New York with a crowbar and breaking its windows, police authorities said.
Friday’s arrest came amid sentencing from US and Turkish officials. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on US authorities earlier this week to find the perpetrator, describing him as a “terrorist”.
The New York Police Department identified the suspect in an email to Al Jazeera as 29-year-old Recep Akbiyik. He faces multiple charges, including attempted robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, terrorist threats, criminal mischief and threats, according to a police spokesman.
Turkish media had previously reported that Akbiyik is a Turkish citizen who left Turkey a year ago. His motives remain unclear.
Footage shared by Turkey’s state-run news outlet Anadolu Agency showed a man dressed in black and wearing a hat hitting the glass facade of the building with a crowbar on Monday morning.
The facility, a skyscraper near the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, is known as the Turkish House. It houses the Turkish consulate in the city and its mission to the UN.
The attack came almost a week before the second round of Turkey’s presidential election between Erdogan and opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Turkish expatriates in New York voted in the Turkish House of Representatives elections this week. The vote in Türkiye will take place on Sunday. Erdogan came first in the initial round of voting earlier this month but failed to secure the majority needed for an outright victory.
Politicians show their support
In response to the attack, New York Mayor Eric Adams visited the Turkey House on Monday and met with Turkish diplomats in the city.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, also called the incident an “heinous attack” on Monday.
“We expect the United States to immediately identify the perpetrators and provide the necessary protection to ensure the safety of our diplomatic missions. My thoughts are with my colleagues who are working tirelessly abroad for Turkiye, including this election period,” she wrote in a tweet earlier this week, using the official Turkish spelling of the Turkish government.
The US State Department said its Diplomatic Security Service was working with local police on the investigation. “We condemn the vandalism,” spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.
Jeff Flake, the US ambassador to Turkey, also denounced the attack.
We condemn Monday’s vandalism of the Turkish House in New York City. We are working with local law enforcement authorities in the investigation and to defend the security of these facilities and the diplomats who work there.
—Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) May 22, 2023
The United States and Turkey are NATO allies, but in recent years there has been friction between the two countries, including over Washington’s support for Kurdish groups in Syria.
In the midst of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Turkey helped broker a deal to continue exporting Ukrainian grain, and US officials have regularly stressed the importance of their alliance with Turkey.
Leave a Reply