State Dept. criticizes Turkey for violence outside embassy

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

Two people were arrested and 11 were injured in protests outside the Turkish ambassador's residence amid President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit.

At their White House meeting earlier, Trump and Erdogan had nice things to say about each other - even after the US chose to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Further, the embassy said in it statement that the demonstrator had been "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens" gathered to greet Erdogan, and the "Turkish-Americans responded in self defense and one of them was seriously injured".

An attack by the Turkish President's bodyguards on unarmed protesters in the United States capitol yesterday is an affront to American rights, the mayor of Washington DC says.

There may be issues with diplomatic immunity, Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference.

Washington authorities said they had "very good video" and were confident they would be able to identify most of the assailants but did not specifically comment on whether any members of Erdogan's security detail were involved in the brawl.

The Turkish Embassy released a statement late Wednesday, calling the melee an act of "self-defence" after members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party provoked people there to see President Erdogan.

A video posted to the Turkish-language Twitter page of the worldwide news service America's Voice shows a peaceful gathering outside the embassy with some people holding "I love Turkey" signs, some holding the American flag, and others holding Kurdish flags, which stand for the Democratic Union Party.

Erdogan met at the White House with US President Donald Trump for a visit that aimed to improve strained ties. "The United States recognizes this inviolability, which provides reciprocal protection for the United States overseas".

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Reports say scuffles broke out on two separate occasions, at first instigated by a supporter of Erdogan wearing yellow, who allegedly pushed a woman down during an argument.

"In the United States, you'd never, never expect to be attacked by Turkish President Erdogan's security guards".

The militia associated with the PYD, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are allies of the United States, while the Turkish government considers them a terrorist organization. USA officials also confirmed to NBC News that Erdogan's bodyguards beat protesters.

At home, Erdogan has overseen a sweeping crackdown on critics and opponents since a failed coup attempt last July which he blames on a USA -based Turkish cleric he wants extradited.

"This isn't Turkey. This isn't a third-world country", McCain said on MSNBC.

Washington police eventually sent reinforcements and restored order, but emergency services said nine people were taken to the hospital, one of them in critical condition.

Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over U.S. support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, which Turkey considers a front for banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists.

"This is Washington, D.C., this is America", Aziz said.

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