The US State Department has summoned the Turkish ambassador after Tuesday’s violent confrontation between protesters and Turkish security personnel in Washington, DC.
“We can confirm that Ambassador Serdar Kilic was summoned to the State Department and met with Under Secretary [of State Thomas] Shannon on Wednesday,” a State Department official said on Thursday.
“The conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing,” the official added. “The State Department has raised its concerns about these events at the highest levels and a thorough investigation that will allow us to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of the utmost importance to us.”
The US police also branded the incident as a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters. According to reports, Erdogan’s bodyguards pushed past US police and assaulted a group of protesters hours after the meeting between Trump and Erdogan.
US President Donald Trump watches as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan departs from the White House in Washington, May 16, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Close-up footage shared on social media showed the bodyguards dressed in suits beating and punching people in the crowd.
A police officer chases a protester, in this still image captured from a video footage, during a violent clash outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence between protesters and Turkish security personnel, May 16, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Both opponents and supporters of Erdogan accuse each other of provoking the brawl which left more than 10 people injured.
On Wednesday the State Department gave a statement slamming the violence as inappropriate.
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” said the statement.
Immediately after the incident, along with Senator John McCain several other senators also expressed outrage and urged the expulsion of Turkey’s ambassador to the US.
“We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” McCain said on Thursday.
The Turkish embassy also released a statement on Thursday not mentioning Turkish security personnel, and blaming the unrest on demonstrators supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)
“The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president,” the embassy said. “The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured.”