Nine people were hurt and two arrested during a physical altercation between protestors and bodyguards outside of the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, apparently sent his bodyguards to deal with the protestors outside of the embassy.
Reports say Erdogan was inside the embassy at the time. Witnesses say that Erdogan’s personal bodyguard started the fight by attacking a protestor with a Kurdish flag outside the embassy.
“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC, adding that she was attacked by a pro-Erdoğan supporter. “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 Guardian reports:
The altercation came the same day that Erdoğan met Donald Trump at the White House. The State Department declined to comment.
Earlier Trump and Erdoğan had stood side by side at the White House and promised to strengthen strained ties despite the Turkish leader’s stern warning about Washington’s arming of a Kurdish militia.
Fresh from securing his grip on Turkey with a referendum to enhance his powers, Erdoğan came to the Oval Office with complaints about US support for Kurdish fighters and what Ankara says is Washington’s harbouring of the mastermind of a failed coup.
But both leaders also tried to put a brave face on their differences and to renew a key alliance between Nato’s leading power and its biggest Muslim member, partners in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
“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,” Erdoğan said, referring to the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
“In the same way, we should never allow those groups who want to change the ethnic or religious structures in the region to use terrorism as a pretext,” he added, suggesting that the Kurds were using the anti-Isis fight as cover for separatist nationalism.