US, Turkey spar over Erdogan visit violence, Kurdish support

Posted May 19, 2017

The State Department says it has expressed its concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.

At least 12 people were injured in Tuesday's clash outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.

. Video shows people pushing past police to confront a small group of protesters across the street in Sheridan Circle.

The State Department called the latest incident "deeply disturbing", insisting there would be a "thorough investigation that will allow us to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of the upmost importance to us".

Turkey will not participate in an offensive on Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in Syria, because the US-led coalition will include Kurdish militia fighters, who Turkey considers terrorists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Borazan said she was unable to report the man to law enforcement since she didn't get a look at his face.

. Eleven people were injured, including a police officer, and nine were taken to a hospital, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference on May 17.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency labeled the protesters Kurdish "supporters of terror".

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said McGurk has "the full support and backing" of Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

In a statement, the Turkish Embassy blamed the violence on the demonstrators, saying they were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

McCain said "this kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically".

A statement from the Turkish embassy argued: "Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense".

Erdogan referred to the protests as he addressed the audience inside: "They are shouting, but they don't know what's going on back in Turkey".

He added that authorities had arrested a NY man and charged him with aggravated assault, while a Fairfax, Va., man was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer.

The U.S. sees the Syrian Kurds as its best battlefield partner on the ground in northern Syria.

Turkey views the YPG-PYD as a terrorist group, which may explain why Erdogan's security might have wanted to intervene in the protest when they saw a flag from the PYD party. Instead, Erdogan's guards were released under a globally recognized custom under which nations don't arrest or detain visiting heads of state and members of their delegations, said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is a USA ally in the fight against Islamic State, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group fighting a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey.

"This is what happens in Turkey - this is not what happens in the US", he told the paper.

And Erdogan, speaking in Istanbul two days after meeting Trump, said he was putting Washington on notice that his forces won't hesitate to attack US -backed Kurds if they threaten Turkey.