World

Secret Service investigates Turkish president's security detail's clash with protesters

Secret Service investigates Turkish president's security detail's clash with protesters

On Tuesday, body guards working for Turkey's authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, clashed with Kurdish and Armenian protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C. Some of the guards are believed to have diplomatic immunity or left the US with Erdogan, The Wall Street Journal reports, though the State Department - which expressed its "concern" to Turkey "in the strongest possible terms" - is exploring ways to block Erdogan's security detail from returning to the USA; some of the same guards harassed a Turkish reporter in Washington previous year, too.

He went on to call for a diplomatic response from the USA and said the government should press charges against Turkish officials involved in the brawl.

Trump's approval, before the visit, of plans to arm the YPG as it advances towards Daesh's Raqqa stronghold had overshadowed talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan did not directly criticise the plan at the White House.

The fight ultimately left 12 people injured and led to two arrests. Video shows people pushing past police to confront a small group of protesters across the street in Sheridan Circle.

At one point, Turkish Ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic appears and shouts at one of the police officers.

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.

Trump made no mention on Tuesday of Erdogan's record on dissent and free speech.




Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham called the attack against protesters "brutal" and said that it's not something that will be tolerated in the nation's capital.

Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) tweeted "Erdogan is so accustomed to beating up protestors in Turkey, evidently he thinks he can get away with such tactics here too".

Kheirabadi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he joined the demonstration, saying "Erdogan is a terrorist" and "Mr. Trump, please say no to Erdogan", when Turkish security staff "just attacked us".

In its protest against the decision, Turkey's foreign minister on Thursday demanded that Trump dismiss his envoy in charge of the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk.

A statement from the Turkish embassy argued: "Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense". He added that Turkey wouldn't hesitate to strike the YPG according to its own rules of engagement, and wouldn't participate in any coalition campaigns against Islamic State in which the YPG was a participant. Turkey regards the force as an arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which Ankara and Washington have both listed as a terrorist group.

The U.S. sees the Syrian Kurds as its best battlefield partner on the ground in northern Syria.


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