McCain: Throw Turkish ambassador out of USA after violent clash


In this May 16, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in Washington.

Shortly after Erdogan was due to arrive at the ambassador's residence at the United States capital's "Embassy Row", members of his security detail pushed past USA police and gave protesters a taste of the hard-line tactics used to quell dissent in Turkey.

Authorities in Washington, D.C., said that at least nine people were injured in the attack with two seriously injured and requiring an ambulance to take them to the hospital.

Turkey must not be allowed to export its denial of free speech here in America, of which a State Department spokesperson said in a separate statement that "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 concluded.

Witnesses reportedly said that the protesters were demanding that a pro-Kurdish lawmaker, Selahattin Demirtas, be released from prison in Turkey.

Mehmet Tankan, 31, said he was one of a dozen protesters outside the ambassador's residence chanting anti-Erdogan slogans when the brawl broke out.

It was unclear if they were members of Mr Erdogan's security or protesters.

Sayid Reza Yasa, a USA citizen who helped organize the demonstration, said he lost a tooth in the scuffle after he was beat up and knocked to the ground.

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The US State Department condemned the Turkish officials' behavior. Foreign security guards kicking and stomping US protesters in the nation's capital did not sit well in Washington. Turkey insists that these YPG militants and their PYD political party are tied to the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, which the USA, the European Union and Turkey all consider a terrorist organization. Video of the melee showed suited men believed to be working for Erdogan attacking protesters in the street outside of the residence.

Washington Police Chief Peter Newsham told a news conference on Wednesday police had a good idea of most of the assailants' identities and were investigating with the Secret Service and State Department.

Cavusoglu said Turkey received USA assurances that arms sent to the YPG would only be used against IS, without explaining how this would be monitored. "The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense", the statement read.

Speaking to reporters at the Turkish embassy in Washington, Erdogan said he told Trump that if there were a YPG attack, Ankara would act unilaterally.

Turkey sees the YPG (Popular Protection Units) as a terrorist group linked to the PKK, which has been fighting inside Turkey since the 1980s.

Trump and his national security team say the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, is the most effective battlefield partner against the Islamic State in northern and eastern Syria.