Kurdish American protesters calling for an independent Kurdistan and for an end to Turkish military attacks on Kurdish towns and cities and for an to Turkish sponsorship of Islamic Fundamentals militias in Syria were attack by Turkish Secret Service during a visit to Washington by Turkish President Recip Erdogan.
Around nine people including young children were injured including one seriously, in a brutal attack by supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his perssonal Secret Service Guard outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC.
Footage taken from the scene by Voice of America shows Turkish Secret Service Guards in suits viciously attacking a group of Kurdish American protesters forcing them to the ground and kicking some of them repeatedly in the head.
The protest, which took place during the evening traffic ruch hour hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had met with US President Donald Trump at the White House shut down Sheridan Circle and the area surrounding the Turkish ambassador’s residence.
About two dozen protesters had showed up outside the ambassador’s residence. “We are protesting [Erdogan’s] policies in Turkey, in Syria, and in Iraq,” Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland told CNN.
The altercation started after the two groups start shouting at one another with one contingent displayed Kurdish and Armenian flags as well as other pro-Democracy anti-Erdogan prosters, whilst on the other side was the waving Turkish flags.
Then members of Erdogan’s own secret service joined the pro-Turkish protesters and managed to disrupt the protest for a while. “They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey,” Arthur said. “They stopped us for a few minutes… but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime,” he added.
This wasn’t the first time the Turkish president’s security detail has been accused of using fists to silence a public protest against Erdogan in the US. Chaos erupted in the streets of Washington during a visit last March, when his body guards repeatedly clashed with protesters and tried to expel journalists. They even confronted DC police when they refused to remove the protesters.
Trump warmly welcomed Erdogan to the White House earlier Tuesday. “We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,” Trump said as the two men sat next to each other in the Oval Office. “We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions.”
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Trump has been criticized for not publicly condemning the Turkish leader’s human rights record and for congratulating him on winning a mid-April referendum that was widely seen as a way for Erdogan to consolidate power in a more authoritarian way.
Despite Trump’s praise, relations with the US and Turkey have been strained of late, and Erdogan brought a laundry list of complaints about American policies with him to Washington.
During private discussions, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “raised the incarceration of Pastor Andrew Brunson and asked that the Turkish Government expeditiously return him to the United States,” the White House said in a statement.
After Erdogan left the White House, the complex was placed on lockdown when someone jumped a bike rack serving as a barrier on the north fence line along Pennsylvania Avenue. The suspect was quickly taken into custody, the US Secret Service said.