Erdogan's bodyguards violently assault Kurdish protesters in Washington

Erdogan's bodyguards violently assault Kurdish protesters in Washington
Shocking footage has emerged of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards beating pro-Kurdish protesters in Washington DC hours after the Turkish president met Donald Trump in the US capital.
2 min read
17 May, 2017
At least nine people were injured in the clashes. [Getty]
Shocking footage has emerged showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards beating pro-Kurdish protesters in Washington DC on Tuesday, with at least nine people injured in the mass brawl.

Dozens of demonstrators had turned outside the Turkish embassy in the US capital, just hours after President Donald Trump met with Erdogan in the White House.

Witnesses to the mass fight said clashes erupted when Erdogan's security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party.

Other demonstrators accused Erdogan supporters of breaching police barricades and attacking protesters at least three separate times.

"We are protesting (Erdogan's) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq," one demonstrator told CNN.

"They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey."

Footage of the brawl shows several protesters being kicked repeatedly in the head by Erdogan's security detail, with several demonstrators covered in blood.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said an altercation broke out between two groups but did not provide further details about the circumstances.

The clashes took place hours after Trump and Erdogan stood side by side at the White House and promised to work through strained ties.

Fresh from securing his grip on the country with a referendum to enhance his powers, Erdogan came to Washington with a list of complaints about US support for Kurdish fighters and its harbouring of the alleged mastermind of a failed coup in Turkey last year.

Trump was one of the first leaders to congratulate Erdogan on winning the 16 April vote to strengthen his office, and his Turkish counterpart repaid the compliment on Tuesday by hailing his host's "legendary victory" in the US presidential race.

"We look forward to having a long and productive discussion," Trump said. "We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better."

It is not the first time that Erdogan's security detail have violently attacked protesters. In 2016, his bodyguards attacked Turkish journalists and staff outside an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

In 2014, Turkish security threatened journalists in New York who worked for a newspaper critical of Erdgoan.

There are 165 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained under state of emergency laws imposed after the failed coup.

Turkey ranks 155 on the latest world press freedom index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), below Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo, dropping four places from its 2016 ranking.