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GOP lawmaker demands inquiry of Turkish leader's bodyguards

19 May 2017

The statement said the demonstrators were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

"The fact that the US, which has not taken any steps forward on Gulen despite the insistent demands of Turkey, put Pastor Brunson on the agenda at high-level meetings begs the question: why is the priest important for the USA?" the newspaper asked, implying America was colluding to defend Gulenists. In addition, "the U.S. Department of State is working closely with local authorities concerning this incident".

Trump has yet to comment personally on the skirmish, but the State Department did issue a statement saying it is "concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening". US lawmakers demanded stronger action.

In a statement, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called the violence "an affront to DC [District of Columbia] values and our rights as Americans".

At their meeting Tuesday, Trump said the US would re-establish its military and economic partnership with Turkey, committing to backing Turkey's defense against both Islamic State and the PKK. However, those two guards claimed diplomatic immunity and were released after diplomatic security consulted with counsel. A USA official said Thursday that wasn't the case. They were released under a globally recognized custom under which nations don't arrest members of a visiting president's delegation.

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The guards' release left the US struggling to point to anything that amounts to accountability.

Erdogan also said that the USA had made up its mind on Raqa, which meant Turkey could not join the operation "under the current circumstances", referring to the YPG's involvement.

Turkey will not hesitate to carry out further operations like its Euphrates Shield campaign in northern Syria, or retaliate if it faces a threat from the YPG militia, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

"There must be consequences", Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Thursday.

However, the State Department said "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest".

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Four of the attackers ganged up on Aziz - knocking him to the ground with punches to the head and repeatedly kicking him in the chest and head before police drove them away. In all, nine people were hurt.

Cavusoglu said Turkey received USA assurances that arms sent to the YPG would only be used against IS, without explaining how this would be monitored.

Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham called Tuesday's attacks on protesters at the Turkish ambassador's residence "brutal". He later exits the vehicle and peers toward the chaos.

Turkey's embassy blamed the violence on groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - a group fighting the government.

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GOP lawmaker demands inquiry of Turkish leader's bodyguards