Footage has emerged which shows that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently witnessed his bodyguards starting a brawl with pro-Kurdish protesters during his visit to Washington DC.
Nine people were hospitalised and two members of the Turkish leader’s security detail arrested in the brutal altercation with Kurds, Yazidis and Armenians protesting Mr Erdogan’s human rights record and Syria policy.
The new video obtained by Voice of America shows the driveway of the Turkish ambassador's residence, where Mr Erdogan is seated in the back of a black Mercedes, as protesters chant outside.
A member of his security detail speaks to the president before walking over to another bodyguard. That guard then walks out of the camera’s frame, and then the men in suits attack the protesters.
Mr Erdogan can be seen exiting the car shortly afterwards, surveying the scene, before heading inside.
In footage previously obtained by VoA, filmed across the road, the bodyguards can be seen suddenly rushing at the protesters.
An elderly man holding a megaphone is kicked in the face, and several women are also hit. Police officers can be seen attempting to hold some of the aggressors back, dragging them to the other side of the street.
While the US State Department said in a statement it was “concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel,” President Donald Trump is yet to comment on Tuesday’s incident.
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the statement said. ”We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
Both Democrat and Republican politicians condemned the violence on American soil, saying it violated the right to freedom of assembly.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most controversial quotes
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most controversial quotes
1/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Just a week before he was elected President, he called Erdogan Amberin Zaman, the Turkey correspondent for 'The Economist', a "shameless militant woman disguised under the name of a journalist" after she had asked an opposition leader whether "Muslim society is able to question" the authorities. "Know your place," Erdoğan said. "They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper. "And then they invite you to a TV channel owned by Doğan media group and you insult at a society of 99 per cent Muslims," he said he said according to Today's Zaman newspaper.
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2/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Turkish people are pictured chanting slogans during an anti-government protest on Taksim square in Istanbul, on 29 June, 2013. The protests were sparked by brutal police action against a local conservation battle to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, and soon turned into nationwide demonstrations against the government. Amid the protests - the worst in Turkey for years - Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements. We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said.
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3/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
During last year’s protests, activists used social media to organise and disseminate information. Several dozen tweeters were arrested following the protests, according to local media reports. Erdogan responded by calling the technology a "menace". "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society," BBC New reported.
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4/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Not helping to allay accusations of authoritarianism, after Turkish police detained 49 people, including well-known business people and those close to the ruling party, Erdeogan ominously told reporter that Turkey "is not a banana republic" that can be affected by unnamed "operations", according to Today's Zaman newspaper. “People who are backed by the media and certain funders cannot change this country," he said. "People backed by certain dark gangs both inside and outside Turkey cannot mess with the country's path. They cannot change conditions in Turkey. Turkey is not a country that anyone can launch an operation into. The [Turkish] nation will not allow that. The AK Party, which is governing this nation, will not allow this."
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5/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Friends and relatives of the miners who died in an explosion at the Soma mine are pictured praying following the burial in Soma cemetery of the last body to be recovered from the mine in May 2014. At the time, the then-Prime Minister badly misjudged the Soma mining disaster, in which 301 workers died. He told the relatives of dead and dying miners that "these types of incidents are ordinary things", following allegations that the government had ignored safety concerns about the privately owned mine, the Guardian reported. In his defence, Erdogan recounted in a separate speech a list of mining disasters which occurred abroad, including a British disaster in 1862, and one in America "which has every kind of technology".
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6/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Palestinians pictured attending Friday noon prayers in a destroyed mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City. As Prime Minister, Erdogan has condemned Israel, accusing it of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned that the it would "drown in the blood it sheds." Speaking to thousands of supporters during a rally in Istanbul ahead of the 10 August election, Reuters reported him as saying: "Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target." "They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won't grow up; they kill men so they can't defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed," he said.
7/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
Amid the worst protests in Turkey for years which had spread across dozens of cities last June, Erdogan accused demonstrators of being "arm-in-arm with terrorism," according to Reuters. A demonstration to halt construction in a park in an Istanbul square grew into mass protests against a heavy-handed police crackdown and what opponents called Erdogan's authoritarian policies. "This is a protest organized by extremist elements," Erdogan said before departing on a trip to North Africa. "We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism," he said.
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8/8 The Turkish President's craziest quotes
In March 2014, Erdogan accused a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries sustained in last year's anti-government protests of being linked to terrorism. Berkin Elvan, who became a symbol of anti-government protests, had gone to pick up bread when he was hit with a teargas canister - sending him into a nine-month coma before he passed away. In a speech broadcast on state TV, Erdogan said of Berkin: "This kid with steel marbles in his pockets, with a slingshot in his hand, his face covered with a scarf, who had been taken up into terror organisations, was unfortunately subjected to pepper gas. “How could the police determine how old that person was who had a scarf on his face and was hurling steel marbles with a slingshot in his hand?”
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The Turkish Embassy, meanwhile, said protesters had “aggressively provoked Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president,” and that the pro-Turkish elements had “responded in self-defence.”
Protester Ceres Borazan, from the Kurdish area of Turkey, wrote in a public Facebook post that the guards “attacked women, children and the elderly with reckless abandon,” and that one had threatened to kill her.
“I ran in the opposite direction from our friends and got caught by one of the security guards. He put me in a headlock to the point where he popped a blood vessel in my eye.”
President Erdogan held meetings with President Trump earlier on Tuesday.
While both leaders reiterated the strong ties between the two Nato countries and a united desire to fight terrorism, the visit took place amid strained relations thanks to the US’ decision last week to publicly fund and arm Kurdish militias in Syria fighting Isis.
Turkey views the separatist Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates in Syria, the PYD, as terrorist organisations - but the US sees Kurdish militias as the most effective ground forces against the extremist organisation.Reuse content