US officials criticize Turkey after attack on DC protesters

US officials criticize Turkey after attack on DC protesters

The United States said Thursday it had summoned Turkey's ambassador to the State Department, where the No. 2-ranked USA diplomat raised concerns about the security detail for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington, after the guards were recorded on video violently breaking up a protest.

After this week's assault by Turkish security officials against protesters in front of the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, the US State Department said it was "communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms".

Turkey will not participate in an offensive on Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in Syria, because the US-led coalition will include Kurdish militia fighters, who Turkey considers terrorists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

A video posted on the internet shows men in dark suits hunting anti-government protesters and beating and kicking them while the police intervene.

The YPG is the Syrian branch of the Turkish Kurdish Workers Party, the PKK, a Marxist group that has been trying since 1984 to carve out a separatist state from Turkey.

Turkey's embassy blamed the violence on demonstrators, saying they aggressively provoked Turkish-American citizens gathered to see Erdogan.

A statement from the Turkish embassy argued: "Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense".

Politicians weighed in as well. "We do not do this here", Sen.

McCain said "this kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically".

"America is going into operations with them", he said of the Kurdish groups.

Two men were arrested at the scene, and police intend to pursue charges against others involved, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) on May 17 sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging immediate action to hold individuals accountable for brutal attacks on peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador's residence on Tuesday, Asbarez reports.

There may be issues with diplomatic immunity, Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference Wednesday.

The aide, identified as Yusuf Yerkel by Turkish media and CNN Turk, reportedly said he was deeply saddened by the events. "They should be arrested immediately and prosecuted".

He added that authorities had arrested a NY man and charged him with aggravated assault, while a Fairfax, Va., man was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer.

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".

"It happened really fast", he said, insisting that he was trying to defend himself and to protect a police officer, not attack one. They said they expected "conduct more appropriate" from Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a key US ally. The document says he struck an officer in the face while the officer was trying to separate protesters and that he "engaged in a physical confrontation" with the officer.

Turkey called Thursday for the removal of the USA diplomat coordinating the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, accusing him of backing Syrian Kurdish militia. Turkey and the United States have branded the PKK a terrorist group, but the United States thinks differently about the YPG and fights with them against ISIS.

The violent capstone to Erdogan's visit spoke to the sky-high tensions between the US and Turkey, NATO allies that have increasingly sparred over USA strategy toward defeating IS militants in Syria. Such groups will "have no safe quarter", Trump said.