Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards filmed beating up Kurdish protesters during Washington DC visit

At least nine people hospitalised and several arrests made after demonstration outside Turkish ambassador’s residence turns violent 

Wednesday 17 May 2017 16:34 BST
Cops struggle to break up stunning brawl between Erdogan supporters and protesters in D.C.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail has clashed with pro-Syrian Kurdish protesters resulting in hospital admissions and arrests during the Turkish president’s visit to Washington DC.

Dozens of protesters carrying flags associated with the Syrian Kurdish PYD party and anti-Turkey protest signs gathered outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday during Mr Erdogan’s visit to the building.

Shocking video filmed by eyewitnesses show several men in dark suits - later identified as members of the visiting Turkish delegation - rushing at the protesters, punching and knocking several of them to the ground.

At an appearance Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan Mr Trump said he was fighting terrorism

An elderly man holding a megaphone was kicked in the face, and several women were also hit. Police officers can be seen attempting to hold some of the aggressors back, dragging them to the other side of the road, in footage distributed by Voice of America.

“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC News.

“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?’”

The violence led to nine hospital admissions and two arrests, a police department spokesperson said, without elaborating on the nature of the incident.

President Erdogan met with US President Donald 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 comes 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.

Tuesday’s protest was organised by Kurds, Yazidis and Armenians whom are critical of Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian civil war and President Erdogan’s human rights record.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in