Fight Outside Turkish Embassy in Washington Injures 9
Supporters and opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey engaged in a violent confrontation outside the Turkish embassy in Washington on Tuesday night. Nine people were injured and taken to a hospital, the District of Columbia’s fire and emergency medical services said on Twitter.
Photos and videos on social media showed a melee of people kicking and punching as the police tried to intervene. At one point, a man threw a bullhorn, two men could be seen bleeding from the head, and another man was on the ground being violently kicked.
The fighting sprawled into a park across the street as uniformed police officers, some in helmets and swinging collapsible batons, tried to restore order. Men in dark suits could be seen in the videos, punching and kicking violently. The Anadolu Agency, a state-owned Turkish news service, reported that members of the president’s security team were involved in the fighting.
The Turkish embassy spokesman, Aydan Karamanoglu, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Wednesday morning.
The Metropolitan police said two people were arrested. Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, N.Y., was charged with aggravated assault, and Jalal Kheirabaoi, 42, of Fairfax, Va., was charged with assault on a police officer.
The VOA Turkish reported that a group of Kurdish protesters clashed with supporters of the Turkish president and that his security guards got involved in the fighting.
A group of demonstrators started to chant anti-Erdogan slogans and held up placards that read “Free Demirtas,” a reference to Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed leader of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or H.D.P.
A separate group waving Turkish flags arrived and started chanting slogans in support of Mr. Erdogan, the VOA reported. The verbal stand off then turned physical.
The skirmish came after President Trump welcomed Mr. Erdogan on Tuesday to the White House and praised him as a stalwart ally in the battle against Islamic extremism, ignoring Mr. Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown on his own people and brushing aside recent tensions between the United States and Turkey over how to wage the military campaign against the Islamic State.