Lawmakers demand swift action for Turkish Embassy violence

Elias Hubbard
May 19, 2017

The video shows Erdogan in the back of a vehicle outside the Turkish ambassador's residence as security officials charged into a crowd of protesters.

WASHINGTON | U.S. officials strongly criticized the Turkish government after video appeared to show its president's security forces pushing past police and violently breaking up a protest outside their diplomatic residence in Washington.

The U.S. State Department said the episode was "deeply disturbing" and promised that an investigation would hold those responsible to account. Instead, Erdogan's guards were released under a globally recognized custom under which nations don't arrest or detain visiting heads of state and members of their delegations, said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

On Tuesday, a group of about two dozen protesters gathered outside the Turkish embassy to protest the Erdoğan regime, specifically his treatment of Turkey's Kurdish minority.

Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is a USA 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.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the agency is "concerned by the violent incidents" and "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech". A man with bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to take the YPG-PYD into consideration as partners in the region, and it's going against a global agreement we reached", Erdogan said in Washington.

The video emerged after US President Donald Trump had welcomed Erdogan to the White House and praised him as an ally in the battle against Islamic extremism in the middle-east.

The protesters said they were demonstrating peacefully until Erdogan's guards and supporters suddenly moved toward them.

And that's what we saw playing out later that day near the Turkish embassy grounds, when otherwise peaceful protesters were set upon by Turkish government thugs.

The Turkish embassy claimed the president's bodyguards were acting in "self-defense". They were assaulting these people on USA soil.

Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a news conference on Wednesday that police had a good idea of most of the assailants' identities and were investigating with the Secret Service and State Department.

On Wednesday, D.C. police announced that they will pursue additional charges against individuals who instigated the violence, dcist.com reported.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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