Turkey has told the United States it will not join in any military operations that include Kurdish fighters in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today, while vowing to strike the USA -backed Kurds if they threaten Turkey's security.
The US State Department said it is "concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel". The Turkish president gets out of his vehicle and looks straight at the chaotic scene behind him.
The incident, which took place the same day Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House, is said to have stained the diplomatic visit of the Turkish President who received assurance from Washington that the United States position on Kurdish issue will not cloud relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and five Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, also condemned the assault.
"We should throw the Turkish ambassador out of the country, we should identify those people that performed these unlawful acts of beating people up and they should be charged", McCain told reporters. He said 11 people and one of his officers were injured during the incident, which was partially captured on video by media outlets.
The video also shows Erdogan watches the attack of his bodyguards to protesters after getting out of the vehicle before he enters Ambassador's residence.
But D.C.'s police chief said on Wednesday that some may be protected by diplomatic immunity.
The U.S. State Department said the episode was "deeply disturbing" and promised that an investigation would hold those responsible to account.
He went on to call for a diplomatic response from the United States and said the government should press charges against Turkish officials involved in the brawl.
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"Reports indicate that some Turkish officials were involved in assaulting protesters, which violates the most basic rules of democracy and is an affront to the United States and the value we place on the right to free speech, as embodied in our Constitution".
Turkey's embassy blamed the violence on demonstrators, saying they aggressively provoked Turkish-American citizens gathered to see Erdogan.
"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense", the statement said. "This kind of thing can not go un-responded to diplomatically", McCain said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe".
PRESIDENT TRUMP laid out the welcome mat this week for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the strongman apparently felt so much at home he thought it okay for his thugs to beat up peaceful demonstrators. This isn't Turkey. This isn't a Third World country.
Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over USA 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.
"Customary global law affords heads of state and members of their entourage with inviolability from arrest and detention", the official said. Later it was reported that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail were the attackers of the peaceful protest.
Citing a cross-border offensive Turkey launched against IS and the YPG in Syria past year, Erdogan said "we won't hesitate to launch similar operations if we see the need".
This is not the first time that Erdogan's entourage has been embroiled in a physical fight with protesters on US soil.
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