— Amerika’nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail attacked protestors in Washington D.C. Tuesday, following the leader’s meeting with President Donald Trump.
Dramatic video caught by Voice of America showed a group of suited security guards punching and kicking protestors outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Embassy Gardens. D.C. police officers had to intervene to separate the two groups.
The authoritarian leader’s security charged at the small group of peaceful protestors after they saw them carrying a Kurdish flag, according to the Guardian.
According to Andrea Mitchell, US officials confirmed the men were Erdoğan’s bodyguards:
US officials confirm to NBC News men who beat protesters outside Turkish Embassy in DC are Pres. Erdogan’s bodyguards https://t.co/jaxfflCu7G
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) May 17, 2017
The protestors were gathered to voice their disapproval of the authoritarian leader of Turkey during his trip to the United States.
Nine of the protestors were injured in the attack — two seriously — and several people were arrested.
Rare is the occasion where you see an international dust-up on bucolic Embassy Row, but this is not the first time Turkish security has clashed with protestors: in 2016, bodyguards of the president reportedly attacked protestors in DC, and in 2014 they roughed up journalists in New York.
Trump, whose security staff also has a history of aggression, was widely condemned after he congratulated Erdoğan for his controversial win of a referendum in April, enforcing the strongman’s grip over Turkey.
Tuesday’s violent clash comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Turkey: just last week, Trump approved arming Kurdish militias in Syria to help the fight against ISIS, a move that angered the government in Istanbul, which considers PKK, the Kurdish party, a terrorist group.
[image via screengrab]
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