Erdogan’s bodyguards accused of attacking protesters outside Turkish Embassy in DC
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 on Tuesday.
Two people were arrested after the incident: one for aggravated assault and one for assault on a police officer. At least nine people were hurt.
Witnesses told The Guardian that the brawl 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 President 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. He did not provide information on what led up to the fight.
Paramedics rushed at least two of the injured to the hospital. Ambulances and dozens of police cars remained at the scene after the skirmish.
Trump and Erdogan met to try renewing ties after the U.S. announced it was going to supply arms to the Kurdish group in its fight against the Islamic State, though 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.”