Turkey blames US for guards' attack on pro-Kurd protesters


Ankara summons US ambassador to explain 'aggression' of US police after Turkish diplomatic guards beat protesters in Washington

Protesters are attacked during the clash on 16 May (screengrab)
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Last update: 
Tuesday 23 May 2017 7:48 UTC

Ankara summoned the US ambassador on Monday to explain "the aggressive and unprofessional" behaviour of US police during an attack by Turkish guards and supporters on pro-Kurdish protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington.

The Turkish foreign ministry formally requested a full investigation into the 16 May clash, the ministry said in a news release, which broke out in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence and overshadowed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first meeting with his US counterpart, Donald Trump. 

Turkey's summoning of the US ambassador came a day after the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, told Fox News that the violence was "simply unacceptable".

Various videos of the incident show armed Turkish security forces, both in special guard uniform and in civilian garb, brutally assaulting a group of protesters gathered across the street from the residence.

One video also shows Erdogan getting out of his vehicle and watching the confrontation along with some of his advisers.  

The Turkish side accuses the US of not providing adequate protection and of allowing the protesters to get too close to Turkish officials, including the president.

John McCain, a Republican senator, has been one of the most vocal critics of the incident, calling for the Turkish ambassador to be "thrown the hell out" of the United States.

Turkish state media and pro-government media has portrayed the incident as one where the Turkish side was forced to defend itself after coming under attack from "terrorists" amid a lack of US precautions.

Erdogan’s security detail has engaged in similar behaviour in the US in the past and attacked protesters and journalists during a US trip last year as well.

While most accounts cite the Turkish security detail involved as belonging to Erdogan, the Turkish foreign ministry - in its diplomatic note to the US ambassador - says the incident involved the close protection detail of the Turkish foreign minister.