Washington, Sep 19 The US government has frozen arms sales to the bodyguards unit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid strained ties between the two countries, authorities said.
Monday’s move would block a deal by New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer to sell $1.2 million worth of arms to the unit behind the May 16 assault on anti-Erdogan protesters during a presidential visit to Washington, reports Xinhua news agency.
“This sale to President Erdogan’s security guards should never have been approved, given their history of excessive force,” a US military statement said.
“We should also stop selling weapons to units of the Turkish National Police that have been arbitrarily arresting and abusing Turkish citizens who peacefully criticise the government.”
Erdogan, who labelled the protesters “terrorists”, blasted the US indictment of his bodyguards, saying the case was a “scandalous demonstration of how American justice works”.