Video Appears To Show Erdogan's Guards Clashing With DC Protesters
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 11:17
United States officials expressed outrage Wednesday after a "brutal attack" on protesters by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards cast a dark pall over his visit to Washington.
Erdogan was in Washington, DC to meet with President Donald Trump (pictured together on Tuesday), who praised him as a loyal ally in the battle against Islamic extremism.
Two arrests were made and Washington, D.C. police said other suspects were being sought.
The State Department issued a relatively strong statement Wednesday saying that it was "concerned by the violent incidents" involving Turkish security personnel and that the United States is "communicating our concern with the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms".
Witnesses reportedly said that the protesters were demanding that a pro-Kurdish lawmaker, Selahattin Demirtas, be released from prison in Turkey. Police said they were checking reports that some of the attackers worked as bodyguards for the Turkish president.
Democratic senator Claire McCaskill said she agreed with her Republican colleague, tweeting: "Unacceptable". Later it was reported that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail were the attackers of the peaceful protest.
Under the eyes of shocked American passers-by, a small group of pro-Kurdish protesters who gathered on the USA capital's "Embassy Row" received a taste of the hardline tactics that Erdogan has adopted in his homeland to quell dissent. Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, New York, was charged with aggravated assault, and Jalal Kheirabaoi, 42, of Fairfax, Virginia, was charged with assault on a police officer.
"The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President".
This is not the first time Mr. Erdogan has come to the United States and ended up bullying those who dare to disagree with his cruel regime. This isn't Turkey. This isn't a Third World country.
"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense", the statement from the Turkish embassy said.
Trump's approval, before the visit, of plans to arm the YPG as it advances towards Islamic State's Raqqa stronghold had overshadowed talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan did not directly criticize the plan at the White House.
"We intend to assure that there is accountability for anyone involved in this assault", he said, adding that the police were working closely with the State Department and the Secret Service.
Turkey views the YPG-PYD as a terrorist group, which may explain why Erdogan's security might have wanted to intervene in the protest when they saw a flag from the PYD party.