Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Nine injured in altercation at Turkish Embassy in Washington

President Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on Tuesday President Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on Tuesday. Evan Vucci AP
Kayla Schwartz | 18 May, 2017, 20:37

"We are concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening".

"Turkey is an important ally, but granting Erdogan an Oval Office photo op is unnecessary, and sends an unmistakable message to human rights defenders around the world", added Berschinski.

In a statement, the Turkish Embassy blamed the violence on the demonstrators, saying they were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President".

A Voice of America video showed police officers struggling to protect the protesters and ordering the men in suits to retreat. Turkish security officials were seen coming out of the ambassador's residence, then retreating to the residence grounds, a law enforcement official said, adding that the same scenario played out a few times. "We just celebrated our president".

"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better", Mr Trump declared after the two leaders met at the White House yesterday. "We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions".

A protest organizer tells CNN there were fewer than 25 protesters in total. "They did not say anything negative about this issue and treated it with understanding".

One of the men arrested, Jalal Kheirabadi, told Reuters he was being beaten by three or four people when a D.C. police officer accused him of assault.

Police were caught off guard, said another eyewitness, as Erdogan was yet to arrive. In March 2016, family members of U.S. personnel stationed at Incirlik were ordered to evacuate amid rising security concerns.

That Kurdish protester, in red trousers, was Lucy Usoyan. "Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, 'OK I'm on the ground already, what is the goal to beat me?'" Soon after, she lost consciousness.

Later, at the circle on Massachusetts Avenue NW, Dersimi said he was pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the face.

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The background of the two men arrested wasn't immediately clear.

"I didn't expect it would be so violent", said Usoyan.

Necmi said after the hearing that he heard about the protest over social media. "But okay, that's Turkey".

A source from his entourage said that "this is a beginning and we have to wait and see how things evolve". They ran around the police line. "They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey", Arthur said. Numerous aggressors seen on video were wearing dark suits and ties, and several had guns. "It wasn't like people wrestling in the street". So far, the two arrests have involved American nationals, though we don't know much about their identity. I strongly condemn these actions and have been briefed by Chief Newsham on our response.

Investigators with the Metropolitan Police Department are working with the Secret Service and the State Department to identify the people on the videos. Those injured were taken to George Washington University Hospital and Georgetown Hospital. So this is a reflection as well of the Kurdish diaspora in the United States and elsewhere who have no sympathy for the Turkish president and see him as a threat to their political aspirations.

US authorities had described the protesters as peaceful until they were attacked.

Hamparian tells CNN that injuries ranged from cuts and bruises, some of which required stiches.

Earlier Trump and Erdo─čan 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.

Trump's approval, before the visit, of plans to arm the YPG as it advances towards Islamic State's Raqqa stronghold had overshadowed talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan did not directly criticize the plan at the White House.

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