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State Dept. criticizes Turkey for violence outside embassy

19 May 2017

Turkey has told the United States it will not join in any military operations that include Kurdish fighters in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, while vowing to strike the US -backed Kurds if they threaten Turkey's security.

Washington, D.C. police may have their hands tied by diplomatic rules as they investigate Turkish officials for their role in a Tuesday attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said McGurk has done "tremendous work" in coordinating and leading the global coalition against IS, and has the support of the White House and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Footage filmed by VOA Turkish showed men, many wearing dark suits, hitting and kicking protestors, including some lying on the ground, while police officers tried to prevent the assaults.

PRESIDENT TRUMP laid out the welcome mat this week for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the strongman apparently felt so much at home he thought it okay for his thugs to beat up peaceful demonstrators.

The State Department has criticized the Turkish government over violence outside its embassy, where Erdogan's security staff broke up an anti-government protest.

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"We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America", McCain said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe".

"But suddenly Erdogan's bodyguards - I'm pretty sure it was them - attacked all of us", she said.

It's not clear to what extent President Erdogan's full security team was involved.

In April, the USA had criticized Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq. Tens of thousands of people have been arrested or fired from their jobs after a failed coup in Turkey a year ago, including journalists.

In a statement, the Turkey Embassy blamed the conflict on the leftist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a Marxist group in Turkey that has for decades been locked in a military conflict with Ankara.

"Clearly Erdogan's guards feel complete impunity, drawing on tools of repression they use at home & knowing he has their back, no matter what", wrote former USA ambassador to the UN Samantha Power on Twitter.

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Meanwhile, Turkey's official news agency said the demonstrators were Kurdish "supporters of terror".

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 16, 2017. Armenian protesters were also demonstrating.

"It happened really fast", he said, insisting that he was trying to defend himself and to protect a police officer, not attack one.

"Yesterday, we witnessed what appeared to be a brutal attack on peaceful protesters", Newsham said, adding that some of the pro-Erdogan group had firearms on them, compounding the difficulty faced by MPD officers.

The Turkish Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

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"Gail told them, "He's a journalist and we invited him".

State Dept. criticizes Turkey for violence outside embassy