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US officials criticize Turkey after attack on DC protesters

20 May 2017

Another person wrenches a woman's neck and throws her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face.

On Tuesday, however, things were taken to a whole new level when a video emerged showing a fierce clash between protesters and the bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outside Turkey's Washington, D.C., embassy.

"Customary worldwide law affords heads of state and members of their entourage with inviolability from arrest and detention", the official said.

"We are protesting (Erdogan's) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq", said Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland.

The protesters said they were demonstrating peacefully until Erdogan's guards and supporters suddenly moved toward them.

An embassy statement said the group had "aggressively provoked Turkish-American citizens" who had gathered to greet Erdogan.

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The statement said a Turkish-American was "seriously injured" in self-defense. That guard talks to another man who then begins the fight.

Trump's approval, before the visit, of plans to arm the YPG as it advances towards Islamic State's Raqqa stronghold had overshadowed talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan did not directly criticise the plan at the White House.

The militia associated with the PYD, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are allies of the United States, while the Turkish government considers them a terrorist organization.

Politicians weighed in as well. "We do not do this here", Sen.

Senator John McCain on Thursday called for the envoy to be expelled. "There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior".

The State Department, Secret Service and Washington, D.C. police are trying to identify the assailants.

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McCain says, "We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America".

McCain's statements are in addition to Kilic being summoned by the US State Department over the incident which left 11 people injured and nine hospitalized, according to police. One was charged with aggravated assault and the other with assaulting an officer.

"We weren't doing anything wrong", said pro-Erdogan demonstrator Mustafa Dikilitas.

The remarks from Graham and McCain come after Rep. Ed Royce of California, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the Trump administration to investigate whether criminal charges are warranted against any of the bodyguards.

Speaking with broadcaster NTV, Cavusoglu accused McGurk of supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a militant group inside Turkey fighting the government as part of a more than 30-year insurgency over minority rights.

At their meeting Tuesday, Trump said the USA 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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