State Dept. summons Turkish ambassador over DC brawl

Erdogan says Turkey will act if Syrian Kurdish militia attacks media
Turkey's President Erdogan delivers a statement to reporters alongside Trump after their meeting at the White House in Washington
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19 May, 2017

Turkey called Thursday for the removal of the USA diplomat coordinating the worldwide coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, accusing him of backing Syrian Kurdish militias.

New footage has emerged showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looking on as his armed guards violently clash with a group of protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. US lawmakers demanded stronger action.

"Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the USA and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador's Residence, while the President of Turkey was visiting the Residence", the embassy said in a statement. Shortly after the incident, Kilic was recorded shouting "You can not touch us!" at DC police, likely referring to his diplomatic immunity. A USA official said Thursday that wasn't the case.

"We told them...we do not regard your cooperation with a terrorist group in Raqqa as healthy", Erdogan was cited as saying, but he said he expected a role for Turkey in Syria.

The guards' release left the USA struggling to point to anything that amounts to accountability.

Cavusoglu said Trump had understood Turkey's position, and did not challenge Erdogan when the Turkish president set out his possible response to the YPG. Erdogan's visit to Washington D.C.in March 2016 was also marred by fights between his supporters and protesters, and members of his security detail were caught on video trying to eject journalists critical of his administration prior to a planned speech at the Brookings Institution.

"There must be consequences", Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Thursday.

"We intend to assure that there is accountability for anyone involved in this assault", he said, adding that the police were working closely with the State Department and the Secret Service.

"President Trump's embrace of Erdogan is another in the line of similarly warm embrace of autocrats around the globe", Schiff wrote on Facebook. The man then turns and rushes quickly in the direction of the protests. Another person wrenches a woman's neck and throws her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face.

Nine people were hospitalized after the encounter.

"This kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically", he said, adding that legal action could be pursued. He later exits the vehicle and peers toward the chaos.

The Turkish embassy issued a statement on Wednesday that the protesters were "affiliated with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)", which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group. "It's disgraceful and shouldn't be happening in the United States of America".

But it didn't happen in Turkey, where Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian government shows little patience with dissent. Last year, McGurk visited YPG members who controlled the Syrian town of Kobane and was awarded a plaque, which drew Turkey's wrath. Yet, reports suggest that the Christian posed a threat to Erdogan's government.

In its protest against Trump's decision, Turkey's foreign minister demanded Thursday that Trump dismiss the US envoy in charge of the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk.

The diplomatic incident has sparked outrage in Washington and even prompted the State Department to summon the Turkish ambassador.

In a second video recorded in the middle of the brawl, Erdogan's men are heard yelling "gel gel gel" - "come, come, come" - and "dalın diyor dalın diyor dalın diyor", or "he says attack". "We ... won't consult anybody on this".


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