NEW YORK (Combined Sources)—A group of Turkish diplomats breached the security bubble around President Obama on Tuesday, provoking a frenzied reaction by security personnel, around the president who pushed and shoved the intruders away from the president’s limousine, reported FOX News.
The incident occurred as Obama was preparing to leave the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan after speaking to an annual meeting of former President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative. Clinton was seen escorting Obama to the limousine moments before the incident occurred.
The Secret Service on Tuesday blamed the quarrel on a language barrier, saying that the Turkish security agents accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not heed verbal instructions to stop proceeding toward the president’s limousine because of their inability to understand English, reported the Washington Times.
The limousine was hidden from view inside a large white tent, a regular Secret Service tactic to protect the president. Moments after Obama arrived at the car, a large number of uniformed police and plainclothes Secret Service agents converged on the back corner of the tent, shouting loudly.
“A foreign delegation got confused and was trying to enter the president’s departure tent and didn’t understand the verbal instructions being given. They had to be physically restrained,” said Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service.
The Washington Times reported that the Turkish government Wednesday rejected that explanation out of hand, saying that its security agents were accompanied by a Secret Service team that was escorting them to the same hotel that Obama was leaving, and that the Secret Service detail with Erdogan brought them near the Obama limousine without telling the main U.S. security contingent guarding the president.
Also on Tuesday, Erdogan was set to deliver a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative, but he canceled his address after the scuffle between Turkish and American bodyguards, reported the Hurriyet newspaper.