Erdogan’s bodyguards accused of attacking protesters outside Turkish Embassy in DC

FoxNews.com

A brawl outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., was captured on video Tuesday — as witnesses claimed that members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters. Erdogan was in the U.S. for a meeting with President Donald Trump at the time.

Two people were arrested after the incident: one for aggravated assault and one for assault on a police officer. 11 people were hurt in the brawl, including a police officer.

“We witnessed what appeared to be a brutal attack on peaceful protesters,” a police official said on Wednesday.

Witnesses told The Guardian that the fight erupted when the Turkish president’s security attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the embassy, hours after Erdogan met with Trump at the White House.

Video footage posted on social media showed some protesters bloodied as others were being beaten on the ground.

“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” said Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan. She said a pro-Erdogan supporter attacked her.

 “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?’” she added.

Metropolitan police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the altercation broke out between two groups. 

“The actions seen outside the Turkish Embassy yesterday in Washington, D.C. stand in contrast to the First Amendment rights and principles we work tirelessly to protect each and everyday,” the police department said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“The Metropolitan Police Department made two arrests following yesterday’s incidents and we have every intention to pursue charges against the other individuals involved. We will continue to work with our partners at the United States State Department and United States Secret Service to identify and hold all subjects accountable for their involvement in the altercation.”

Trump and Erdogan met to try to renew ties after the U.S. announced it was going to supply arms to the Kurdish group in its fight against the Islamic State.

Turkey considers the group a terror organization.

“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,” Erdogan said. “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.

An investigation into the brawl is still ongoing. Police could not confirm that Erdogan’s bodyguards were involved.

“This is a city where people should be able to come and peacefully protest,” the police official said. “This is not something we can tolerate in our city.”

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Matt Richardson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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