Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s guards pushed United Nations guards, one of whom suffered broken ribs after being thown to the ground, in one of at least three brawls last week that the U.N. has tried to hush up.
The first and perhaps most serious fracas broke out last Friday when Erdogan, late for the speech by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, tried to approach the General Assembly hall through a door that was roped off, according to the Associated Press.
His guards and those of the United Nations engaged in a pushing and shoving match that lasted for several minutes, ending with at least one guard hospitalized for broken ribs after he fell to the ground.
The brawl set off a security alert, and all diplomats outside the hall were ushered out of the building until things calmed down.
Nine U.N. guards were temporarily suspended until a protest convinced officials to allow them to return to work, but without uniforms until a thorough investigation is completed.
Another fight broke out on Monday when a Turkish security official again tried to pass through an area that was roped off prior to the arrival of President Barack Obama. Another push and shove brawl ensued until the Turkish ambassador intervened, according to a diplomat quoted by AP.
One diplomat said he witnessed Turkish security officials being involved in another incident.
A third incident occurred when Abbas and Erdogan were at a special exit before getting into their car, and U.N. guard reportedly touched Erdogan but did not harm him.
The United Nations responded, "There were some unfortunate misunderstandings involving security between U.N. uniformed officials and security officials of member delegations. We believe that these have been satisfactorily resolved and that prompt action has been taken."