Lawmakers demand swift action for Turkish Embassy violence

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

USA officials have criticized the Turkish government over violence outside its ambassador's residence in Washington.

Turkey has told the United States it will not join in any military operations that include Kurdish fighters in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, while vowing to strike the US -backed Kurds if they threaten Turkey's security. A man with a bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face. Almost a dozen people were injured.

Hawkish Republican Senator John McCain demanded the Turkish ambassador's expulsion after Mr Erdogan's bodyguards attacked pro-PYD demonstrators outside the embassy residence on Tuesday afternoon. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the agency is "concerned by the violent incidents" and "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech". "The State Department has raised its concerns about these events at the highest levels and a thorough investigation that will allow us to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of the utmost importance to us". His appearance at the Brookings Institution during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit was marred when his security detail roughed up demonstrators and tried to eject "undesired" journalists.

Erdogan insisted that the state of emergency is not a hurdle to business.

Given Erdogan's iron-like grip on his government, it is unlikely that his security detail would have acted without direct orders.

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"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better", Trump said in the Oval Office as he sat beside Erdogan. And at the same time, of course, he is somebody who survived a coup attempt previous year. "So for him, and presuming for a security detail, opposition and especially vocal opposition - they don't take it very lightly".

The Washington Fire and EMS Department's Twitter account said that nine people were injured during the protests on Tuesday. The descent of Turkey into a strongman state is discouraging, and there's no sign that it's going to turn around any time soon.

District of Columbia police have teamed up with the State Department and the Secret Service to investigate the bloody fracas outside the Turkish ambassador's Sheridan Circle residence on Tuesday. "People have the right in our country to peacefully demonstrate and they were peacefully demonstrating". Others were hired from the Turkish-American community, raising questions about whether they will receive diplomatic protection.

Cavusoglu said Trump had understood Turkey's position, and did not challenge Erdogan when the Turkish president set out his possible response to the YPG.

The White House hasn't commented on the altercation, but President Trump has been criticized for his positive comments on foreign leaders, like Erdogan, who have been criticized for their records on political freedom and human rights.

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