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Trump and Erdogan hail closer relations despite row over YPG

17 Mai 2017

Nine people were hurt in a brawl outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards attacked protesters.

The incident occured after Erdogan visited the White House, where he criticized US support for Kurdish militia in Syria.

The protesters condemned suppression in Turkey, and Erdogan's policies in Syria and Iraq.

Video filmed by eyewitnesses showed several men in dark suits - later identified as members of the visiting Turkish delegation - rushing at the protesters, punching and knocking several of them to the ground.

As a result of mass fights some people suffered, and only two were arrested after the intervention of militiamen.

After Erdogan left the White House, tensions over the Kurdish issue spilled onto the streets of Washington.

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"We weren't doing anything wrong", pro-Erdogan demonstrator Mustafa Dikilitas told WJLA. The U.S. and the European Union agree with Turkey that the group of Kurds in Turkey known as the PKK are indeed terrorists, and the Trump administration has sought to ease Turkish worries that the weapons provided to Kurds in Syria would not end up in the hands of the Turkish Kurds.

Mr Erdogan's visit was further complicated by his repeated call for the U.S. to extradite Pennsylvania resident Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric widely blamed by the president's supporters for instigating last July's failed military coup.

"It will never be accepted, and it is going to be against a global agreement that we have reached", said Erdogan at the joint press conference with Trump. Erdogan's Turkey, after maintaining long tacit alliance with the Islamic State, has recently dispatched military troops into Syria - not to fight ISIS but to hold the line against Kurds.

The clashes are not the first incidence of Turkish political violence spilling over into Washington.

Erdogan's security detail reportedly attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the ambassador's residence.

At the time, a journalist was physically removed from the event site by Turkish security personnel, another kicked by a guard, and a third - a woman - thrown to the sidewalk in front of a Washington think tank where he was to speak.

Trump and Erdogan hail closer relations despite row over YPG