World

Erdogan Supporters in Violent Clash with Protesters in Washington

Erdogan Supporters in Violent Clash with Protesters in Washington

US lawmakers demanded stronger action.

His visit was overshadowed by violence outside the Turkish ambassador's home.

Following the White House meeting, Erdogan met with a group of United States businessmen at the Turkish Ambassador's residence across from Sheridan Circle, where another group of protesters were gathered.

The letter to Erdogan comes one day after Rep. Ed Royce (D-California) wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging them to investigate the violence and determine whether criminal charges are warranted against any of the bodyguards.

Newsham said "there could be a diplomatic immunity issue, but that won't prevent us from doing what we need to do", saying officers had identified some assailants. But the Washington police and US officials should treat them like common criminal suspects nonetheless.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse, writing on Twitter, said Erdogan should "remember that this country is built on free speech, free religion, free press, and freedom to protest".

The guards' release left the USA struggling to point to anything that amounts to accountability. Kheirabadi said he is a Kurd who passed through Turkey as a refugee and is now a US citizen. More than 110,000 people have been detained since a failed coup attempt a year ago.

"There must be consequences", Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Thursday.




The State Department says it has expressed its concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.

The Middle Eastern strongman's visit to President Trump this week led to demonstrations against his regime, which recently cemented itself through a referendum giving Erdogan more power.

Washington police called the violence a "brutal attack on peaceful protesters". The guards surrounded a middle-aged man who had been kicked to the ground and was kicked repeatedly in the face.

Washington Police Chief Peter Newsham said 11 people and one police officer were injured.

Although the PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, their supporters are usually not arrested in western countries in the same manner that sympathisers of Daesh, another terrorist organisation, routinely are.

In video captured by the Voice of America, a handful of Erdogan's supporters and his security detail rushed the demonstrators and started hitting them. He later exits the vehicle and peers toward the chaos.

Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is a US ally in the fight against Islamic State, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group fighting a decades-old insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

The violent capstone to Erdogan's visit spoke to the sky-high tensions between the US and Turkey, NATO allies that have increasingly sparred over USA strategy toward defeating IS militants in Syria.


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