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Turkish ties hit rough patch after rough Erdogan visit

20 Mai 2017

In April 2016 the president's bodyguards beat protesters outside the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. while Erdogan gave a speech inside, prompting the think tank to strongly condemn the behavior.

After their White House summit, Erdogan stopped at the Turkish ambassador's residence, where protesters had gathered.

A video captured by Voice of America Turkish on Thursday revealed the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in close proximity to the melee that broke out Tuesday when his bodyguards brutally attacked protesters in front of the Turkish Ambassador's residence in Washington, where Erdogan was meeting with U.S. businessmen.

But Tuesday's incident, which produced a flurry of photographs showing protesters getting punched, kicked and stomped, quickly overshadowed the positive sentiments.

Video of the violent confrontation on Tuesday, May 16, which took place on Embassy Row in Washington DC, showed that President Erdogan watched from a vehicle as his bodyguards assaulted peaceful protesters across the street. A State Department spokesperson told VICE News that two members of Erdogan's security detail were briefly detained and released. Under worldwide law, foreign officials and their traveling detail can not be detained.

"We can confirm that Ambassador Serdar Kilic was summoned to the State Department and met with Under Secretary [of State Thomas] Shannon on Wednesday", a State Department official said on Thursday.

Tensions between Washington and Istanbul are running high after the Trump administration announced plans to arm Kurdish Syrian militants fighting the Islamic State group despite intense opposition from Turkey, which considers the Kurds as terrorists.

On Thursday, Arizona Sen.

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Turkey's foreign minister also demanded that a US envoy be removed for allegedly backing the Kurds, but the State Department said Brett McGurk has the "full support" of the Trump administration.

"This kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically", Sen.

"It's so easy for Turkey to blame everyone who is a victim", said Yuksel, the representative of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party in the United States. "They were assaulting these people on USA soil", McCaskill tweeted.

Shortly after, Erdogan's goons were attacking USA citizens in broad daylight.

McCain and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told Erdogan in a letter they sent Thursday that the "actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans".

Still, Nauert sought to acknowledge Turkey's misgivings about terrorism by the PKK and other groups.

Still, the Trump administration is facing growing calls to respond even more forcefully. As the protesters and security officials clashed, Erdogan is seen stepping out of his auto and watching the fighting for a few moments before turning and walking calmly into the residence. In response, Turkish officials told their US counterparts that they reserved the right to step up military action against the YPG in Syria. But Kheirabadi told The Associated Press earlier this week he was a victim, not an aggressor.

Turkish ties hit rough patch after rough Erdogan visit