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State Department Summons Turkish Ambassador After Bloody Brawl in DC
19 May 2017, 10:48 | Darnell Patrick
In a statement Wednesday, Washington police said the incident outside the Turkish embassy stood "in contrast to the First Amendment rights and principles we work tirelessly to protect each and every day".
On May 17, the United States voiced its "strongest possible" concern to Turkey over the street brawl that left at least 11 people injured and appeared to include members of Erdoğan's security detail kicking people who were on the ground. The two leaders touted strong ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan emphasized his country will not accept Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region while stopping short of directly criticizing a US decision to arm them.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the agency is "concerned by the violent incidents" and "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech". "After all, they violated American laws in the United States of America". A man with bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face.
Police called the violence a "brutal attack on peaceful protesters".
"Our president told his counterpart, clearly and plainly, that we would continue combatting YPG", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told private NTV television Thursday while discussing Tuesday's meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, McCain condemned Turkish authorities, stating that there is "no excuse" for their "thuggish" behavior.
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The protesters said they were demonstrating peacefully until Erdogan's guards and supporters suddenly moved toward them.
"The Metropolitan Police Department made two arrests following yesterday's incidents and we have every intention to pursue charges against the other individuals involved", the statement continued.
Nine people were hospitalised after the clash and two were arrested.
"We respect those concerns, and continue regular consultations with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally on this and other topics of mutual importance", Nauert said.
Police Chief Peter Nesham called reports of guns by the pro-Turkey side "very dicey", adding: "I will say that is not something that we will tolerate here in Washington, D.C". But Erdogan's government views the Syrian Kurdish group known as the YPG as an extension of a Kurdish terrorist organization that operates in Turkey. Such groups will "have no safe quarter", Trump said.
"We clearly told them this: if there is any sort of attack from the YPG and PYD against Turkey, we will implement the rules of engagement without asking anyone", the Sabah newspaper citing him as saying.
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, "We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops". Syria has condemned the strike as a "brazen attack" that undermined claims the alliance is fighting extremists.
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