Erdogan says Turkey will act if Syrian Kurdish militia attacks

Elias Hubbard
May 19, 2017

The Turkish Embassy in a statement blamed the violence on demonstrators, stating they were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

Photos and videos posted on social media by witnesses showed a chaotic scene of flying fists, feet and police batons.

The US State Department has confirmed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail was behind the attack on Kurdish protesters in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Attacking the small group of protesters with their fists and feet, men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino called Erdogan's security detail "irresponsible" following another violent incident a month later in Ecuador's capital city of Quito.

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.

"On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Turkish President Erdogan at the White House".

Turkey considers the People's Protection Units, or YPG, a terror organization and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency against the country.

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

The Obama administration wanted the incoming Trump administration to sign off on a Pentagon plan to retake ISIS stronghold Raqqa by arming Syrian Kurdish forces because the operation would likely happen after Trump took office, according to former senior Obama administration and defense officials.

"We clearly told them this: if there is any sort of attack from the YPG and PYD against Turkey, we will implement the rules of engagement without asking anyone", the Sabah newspaper citing him as saying.

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

"I believe they will knock on our door on the subject of Syria", he said.

"When we take this step, we don't speak or consult with anyone as we don't have any time to waste".

"Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest", the statement said.

"We respect those concerns, and continue regular consultations with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally on this and other topics of mutual importance", Nauert said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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