World War 3: The DC Brawl
The Turkish foreign minister is calling for the removal of the US envoy, claiming he is sympathetic to Kurdish Syrians as the top congressional Republican demands swift action after the Turkish president’s security detail violently broke up a protest in Washington, DC. Turkey is waging a war of Genocide against the Kurds.
Tensions are running high between the US and Turkey after the Trump administration announced plans to arm Kurdish Syrians militants with small arms, machine guns, armored vehicles and other military hardware. Washington sees the militia as best suited for an eventual siege of Raqqa, the Syrian stronghold of Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is pleading for the replacement of Brett McGurk, the US presidential envoy for the US-led coalition against IS.
“This McGurk is definitely supporting the PKK and YPG. It would be beneficial for this person to change,” he said, accusing the diplomat of pursuing policies of the Obama administration, according to broadcaster NTV.
On Wednesday, McCain condemned Turkish authorities, stating that there is “no excuse” for their “thuggish” behavior.
“This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior,” he tweeted.
The incident occurred after Erdogan arrived after a White House meeting with President Trump. Video shows people pushing past police to confront a small group of protesters across the street in Sheridan Circle.
Attacking the small group of protesters with their fists and feet, men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk. Another person wrenches a woman’s neck and throws her to the ground. A man with bullhorn is repeatedly kicked in the face. In all, 12 people were injured.
The US State Department has confirmed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail was behind the attack on Kurdish protesters in Washington, DC on Tuesday. Police believe “there could be a diplomatic immunity issue.”
Republicans are calling on the Trump administration to investigate whether criminal charges are warranted against any of the bodyguards.
The Turkish Embassy in a statement blamed the violence on demonstrators, stating they were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured.”
The US “should throw their [Turkish] ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Service committee said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The Turkish ambassador, Serdar Kilic, was summoned to the State Department on Wednesday and rebuked. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech. … We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
The Turkish government doesn’t seem to be getting the message. In a breezy counterstatement, the Turkish Embassy claimed that the demonstrators had initiated the violence and gathered “illegally” outside the residence.
Images of protesters bloodied by Erdogan’s bodyguards horrified people in the U.S. on Wednesday, but back in Turkey they gave many a great deal of satisfaction.
Turks back home took pride in the security detail’s behavior, using the hashtag #PKKyaOsmanlıTokadı, which means “Ottoman slap for the PKK.” The hashtag refers to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by NATO, the EU, and the United States. Over 33,000 tweets mentioned the hashtag, many of which said the protesters deserved to be beaten, and that Turkish users were “very satisfied watching the video.”
Kurds (Syrian Kurdish) and their supporters were furious over the beatings and unhappy that none of Erdogan’s guards were held responsible. Their own hashtag, #ArrestErdogansBodyguards, appeared over 5,000 times on Twitter since the incident.
This isn’t the first time that Erdogan’s security detail used violence on American soil to suppress dissenting speech. In April 2016 the president’s bodyguards beat protesters outside the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. while Erdogan gave a speech inside, prompting the think tank to strongly condemn the behavior.
Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units or YPG in Syria a terror organization an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged a three-decade long insurgency against the Turkish state, seeking their own nation.
The US agrees with Turkey in designating the PKK as a terrorist organization, but rejects the idea that Kurdish forces in Syria or Iraq should be treated in the same fashion.