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Turkey Protesters Say Erdogan Supporters Attacked Them in Washington

2017-05-19

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[00:00.00]
  • The United States is expressing concern over a clash involving protesters and supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • [00:15.03]
  • The clash happened Tuesday in Washington, D.C., near the home of Turkey’s ambassador.
  • [00:24.79]
  • Erdogan had met with President Donald Trump at the White House earlier in the day.
  • [00:33.68]
  • Parts of the clash were caught on video by VOA’s Turkish Service.
  • [00:41.00]
  • ​State Department official Heather Nauert said in a statement the U.S. concerns would be communicated to the Turkish government "in the strongest possible” way.
  • [00:56.37]
  • “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.
  • [01:13.96]
  • VOA’s Turkish Service said the protesters were supporters of Selahattin Demirtas, a jailed pro-Kurdish lawmaker.
  • [01:29.28]
  • Turkish officials arrested him in November on terrorism-related charges.
  • [01:37.50]
  • Rights groups condemned his arrest as part of a government crackdown on dissent.
  • [01:46.96]
  • The protesters said they were demonstrating peacefully until Erdogan’s guards and supporters suddenly moved toward them.
  • [01:59.76]
  • Video shows men wearing dark suits and others hitting and kicking protesters.
  • [02:08.06]
  • Police appeared to struggle to keep the two groups separated.
  • [02:14.89]
  • At least 11 people were injured in the violence.
  • [02:20.07]
  • Two arrests were made and Washington, D.C. police said other suspects were being sought.
  • [02:28.80]
  • Police said they were checking reports that some of the attackers worked as bodyguards for the Turkish president.
  • [02:39.38]
  • Turkey’s embassy blamed the violence on groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a group fighting the government.
  • [02:52.82]
  • An embassy statement said the group had “aggressively provoked Turkish-American citizens” who had gathered to greet Erdogan.
  • [03:05.46]
  • Washington’s police chief, mayor and several U.S. lawmakers condemned the violence.
  • [03:14.57]
  • Senator John McCain, a Republican, urged the Trump administration to expel the Turkish ambassador over the incident.
  • [03:25.90]
  • I’m Bryan Lynn.
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