Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Tuesday meeting in Washington, D.C. with President Trump, a brawl occurred at a protest outside the Turkish Embassy, not far from the White House. Witnesses alleged that members of Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters in the clash that was captured on video.
At least nine people were injured during the incident, and two were arrested afterward—one for aggravated assault, and another for assault on a police officer.
According to witnesses, the brawl began when members of the Turkish president’s security detail attacked protesters carrying the Kurdish PYD party’s flag outside the embassy.
Video of the incident showed the melee during which protesters were bloodied, beaten, and kicked.
“All of a sudden they just ran towards us,” said demonstrator Lucy Usoyan, a Yazidi Kurd who claimed that a pro-Erdogan supporter attacked her.
“Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’” she said.
— Amerika’nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) May 17, 2017
Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the Metropolitan police, confirmed that the brawl was between two groups, but did not speculate on the origin of the conflict.
At least two of the injured were rushed to the hospital while numerous ambulances and police cars remained on the scene following the violence.
Trump and Erdogan met in an effort to repair the relationship between their two countries after the U.S. announced its intention to supply arms to the Kurdish YPG-PYD group to aid in its fight against ISIS. Turkey views the Kurdish group as a terror organization.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to take the YPG-PYD into consideration as partners in the region, and it’s going against a global agreement we reached,” Erdogan said. “In the same way, we should never allow those groups who want to change the ethnic or religious structures in the region to use terrorism as a pretext,” he contended, asserting that the Kurds were “using the anti-ISIS fight as cover for separatist nationalism.”
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