Up to a dozen people were injured on Tuesday in violent clashes outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC between protestors and security guards belonging to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Footage has emerged of the incident, during which two men were arrested. The video shows several demonstrators being knocked over and kicked repeatedly in the face by members of Erdoğan's security detail. One Turkish official was seen brutally hitting a young female protestor.
Speaking to ABC, one demonstrator, Lucy Usoyan said: "All of the sudden they just ran towards us. Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”
The protestors had gathered outside the Turkish Embassy to demonstrate against Erdoğan's policies in Turkey, Syria and Iraq as well as Turkish attacks on US backed Kurdish fighters in Syria. The altercations happened just hours after Erdoğan had met with Donald Trump in the White House.
This violent attack on demonstrators, some of whom were carrying Kurdish PYD party flags, comes just a week after the US announced that it would continue to arm Kurdish groups fighting ISIS in Syria. Erdoğan said during his meeting with Trump that this decision from the US administration was “totally unacceptable.”
The State Department have since issued a statement regarding the incident, which reads: “We are concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening. Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.”
The Turkish Embassy has also released a statement, blaming the demonstrators for the violent altercation, saying that they “began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President.”
Donald Trump has yet to make a statement in relation to the attack. During his meeting with Erdoğan, however, he emphasised the “great” relationship that the US administration has with the Turkish leadership and expressed his desire to “make it even better.” He also, repeatedly, mispronounced the Turkish president’s name.
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