Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Turkish president's security clashes with DC protesters


The US State Department has denounced the brutality of the security personnel accompanying the Turkish President after they roughed anti-Erdogan protesters Tuesday in Washington. "I strongly condemn these actions and have been briefed by Chief Newsham on our response".

Opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey were drawn into a violent confrontation outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington on Tuesday night in what the Metropolitan Police chief said was "a brutal attack".

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Washington-based Armenian National Committee of America, said in a video he shot from the scene of the brawl that people he presumed to be Erdogan supporters "stormed the street" to attack "peaceful" protesters and "left many, many people bloodied".

The State Department said in a statement that it is communicating its concern to the Turkish government "in the strongest possible terms".

The two men arrested by D.C. police were identified as Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, New York, charged with aggravated assault for allegedly punching someone in the face, and Jalal Kheirabaoi, 42, charged with assault on a police officer.

Last year, Erdogan's guards and protesters clashed outside the Brookings Institution in D.C. during a Nuclear Security Summit, and D.C. police and U.S. Secret Service officers were forced to intervene. The service has not responded to our request for comment.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it had arrested two people for assault and identified them as U.S. residents, 49-year-old Ayten Necmi of NY and 42-year-old Jalal Kheirabadi of Virginia.

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"After the police line broke, all fought with each other no matter if they were officially on duty or civilian", said the observer. Video shows demonstrators, men in suits, and local police jumping into the fray.

"We look forward to having a long and productive discussion", Trump said.

The Guardian reports that witnesses say Erdogan's security team was responsible for attacking the protesters. Two men identified as 49-year-old Ayten Necmi of NY and 42-year-old Jalal Kheirabadi of Virginia, all USA residents were arrested as main suspects. Ankara regards the YPG as an extension of the PKK, which has fought an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe. Nine were sent to the hospital.

The incident occurred after Erdogan arrived after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser condemned what she called a violent attack on a peaceful protest.

Added Newsham: "That's not something we will tolerate in Washington, D.C. This is a city where people should be allowed to come and peacefully protest".

Bahar says that he and his associates are trying to press charges against the security forces who attacked them, but he fears that many "are Erdoğan's security attaches, who are coming with him from Turkey and are going to return with him to Turkey today".

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