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U.S. officials criticize Turkey after attack on DC protesters
20 May 2017, 01:01 | Gladys Abbott
Erdogan on Tuesday met Trump at the White House and the two leaders promised to strengthen strained ties between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies despite the Turkish leader's stern warning about Washington's arming of a Kurdish militia. Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.
"The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President".
US Senator John McCain condemned the attack and called on Trump to react. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured.
Two men were arrested at the scene, and police intend to pursue charges against others involved, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over U.S. support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, a group that Turkey considers a front for banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists.
The U.S. declined to say whether the security agents were granted diplomatic immunity or under what conditions they were released. He suggested that lawsuits should be filed if the responsible bodyguards can be identified.
Two men - 49-year-old Ayten Necmi of NY state and 42-year-old Jalal Kheirabaoi from Virginia - were arrested.
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Kheirabadi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he joined the demonstration, saying "Erdogan is a terrorist" and "Mr. Trump, please say no to Erdogan", when Turkish security staff "just attacked us".
"It happened really fast", he said, insisting that he was trying to defend himself and to protect a police officer, not attack one. They said they expected "conduct more appropriate" from Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a key US ally.
Court paperwork spells his name Kheirabaoi, but he said that is incorrect. Online court records say he must return to court June 1 and Necmi on July 12.
Turkey has forcefully protested the Trump administration's decision to arm a Syrian Kurdish force for an assault on the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa.
"Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the US and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador's Residence, while the President of Turkey was visiting the Residence".
"It is critical that we are closely linked with partners on the ground to coordinate both military and civilian efforts to sustain momentum and focus against ISIS", Nauert said, using an acronym for Islamic State. Cavusoglu said Thursday that the Trump administration "did not show any reaction" to the Turkish warning. But Erdogan's government views the Syrian Kurdish group known as the YPG as an extension of a Kurdish terrorist organization that operates in Turkey.
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