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Video shows Erdogan watched bodyguards' violent attack on protesters in DC

20 May 2017, 12:14 | Taylor George

ISTANBUL (AP) - Turkey's leader told Donald Trump that his country will keep on fighting Syrian Kurdish militants even though they are a key USA ally against the Islamic State group, Turkey's foreign minister said Thursday, adding that a top US envoy should be fired for backing the Kurds.

Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over United States support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, a group that Turkey considers a front for banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists.

"Obviously he was in charge of the group of thugs that violated American law and beat up people", McCain told ABC News.

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

That's not something that we will tolerate here in Washington D.C. This is a city where people should be allowed to come and peacefully protest.

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.

Nauert said in her statement that the United States respects Turkey's concerns about its approach, and will continue regular consultations on the issue. Turkey, the United States and European Union consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

"This kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically", McCain, the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the interviewer, adding that legal action could also be pursued.

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A brawl erupted outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington D.C. on Tuesday as Erdogan was visiting the embassy. They could see the protestors and their placards- and chose to "disperse them".

The State Department, Secret Service and Washington, D.C. police are trying to identify the assailants.

"All of the sudden they just ran towards us", said Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan.

This was all happening while President Trump was hosting a visit with Erdogan in the White House.

"The conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing", the spokesperson said.

Eleven people were injured, including a police officer, and nine were taken to a hospital, after men in suits attacked the protesters on Embassy Row in Washington, DC. In April, the US had criticized Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq.

Similar clashes happened past year when Erdogan visited Washington for a nuclear security summit.



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