A shocking video recorded outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., shows a violent clash between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards and Kurdish protestors.
Just hours after Erdogan met with his American counterpart, Donald Trump, around two dozen protestors turned up at the Turkish embassy to protest the president’s policies in Syria, Iran and Turkey.
"We are protesting (Erdogan's) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq," said Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland.
"They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in Turkey. They stopped us for a few minutes ... but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan's tyrannical regime,” he added.
Demonstrators carrying the Kurdish PYD party flag were knocked to the ground and then kicked by men in suits. Two elderly men with their clothes covered in blood were also seen bleeding from the head.
Following the altercation, nine people were hurt and two arrests were made, with one man charged with assaulting a police officer. Victims were transported to the George Washington University Hospital for treatment of their wounds.
The incident comes just as the POTUS has extended a hand of friendship towards Turkey, despite Erdogan’s dictatorial rule at home.
The Turkish president who has been called a “modern-day sultan” is notorious for oppressing and silencing his critics and opponents. Last July, Turkey saw its bloodiest coup attempt when a section of the Turkish military launched an operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Around 241 people were killed and 2,194 others were injured, and Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman alleged that Erdogan orchestrated it himself "to build a dictatorship".
Erdogan has also been accused of oppressing the Kurdish ethnic community, which the Turkish government perceives as a separatist group. Hundreds of Kurdish activists and politicians have been arrested under Erdogan’s rule.
"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better. We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions,” Trump who praised Turkey's efforts in the war against ISIS said in the Oval office.
People on Twitter are calling out Trump for inviting “thugs” to the country.
@VOATurkish Erdogan's thugs have attacked Kurdish protesters on the streets of Washington DC. As bad as Trump is a worse story is unfolding in Turkey.— Chip Le Grand (@Melbchief) May 17, 2017
@VOATurkish This will happen to Americans from Americans all the time if we don't stop trump.— Jessica ?? (@NoFascistsPls) May 17, 2017
@The_Real_B_L @booboo1966kkd @VOATurkish @RepMikeBishop @SenGaryPeters @SenStabenow I think DC cops were as horrified as most of us. Turkish security = thugs. Squarely on WH for inviting ?? to our Country.— melody savala (@vikingmother123) May 17, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Murad Sezer