US Secretary of State says Turkish violence ‘simply unacceptable’
A brawl erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Erdogan’s visit to Washington to meet U.S. President Donald Trump. Police said two people, including at least one protester, were arrested.
Tom Shannon, the Under Secretary for political affairs at the State Department, publicly thanked Turkish Ambassador Kılıç for his efforts to calm the situation down in Sheridan Circle Park, where a brawl between Turkish-Americans and supporters of terror groups PKK and its Syrian armed affiliate YPG broke out last week.
Ambassador John Bass, who represents the United States government in Turkey, was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry so they could criticize how American police officers treated Turkish bodyguards who attacked protesters last week. It happened hours after President Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.
Ankara summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday to explain “the aggressive and unprofessional” behaviour of United States police during an attack by Turkish guards and supporters on pro-Kurdish protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington.
Such sweeping political changes, Mr Erdogan says, are vital to ensure stability in Turkey as it battles Kurdish and Islamist militants and after an attempted coup a year ago that Ankara attributed to supporters of United States-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The Turkish foreign ministry is asking USA authorities to conduct “a full investigation of this diplomatic incident“. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Patrick Leahy D-Vt., said in a letter released Monday that there could be “potential implications for assistance to Turkey” if the unseemly incident isn’t taken seriously by Ankara.
The diplomatic response to the brawl devolved into accusations on either side, with prominent U.S. officials claiming the bodyguards had acted inappropriately, and the Turkish government claiming they had been provoked.
The incident occurred outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador with the president watching for a few seconds before turning to go inside.
The incident drew an outcry among U.S. lawmakers, and Senator John McCain called for the Turkish envoy to be expelled. Turkey has summoned the US Ambassador to deliver a hand-written protest to the US government for daring to allow such protests in the first place.
“During that incident, Americans saw lawful protesters attacked at Sheridan Circle”, he said. In the aftermath of the attack, police chief Peter Newsham said diplomatic immunity may be an issue in holding the Turkish personnel accountable but that his office would do everything in their power to do so.