Erdogan’s security, protesters clash in Washington
Security staff of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clashed with angry protesters in Washington ahead of his speech at a major American think tank.
Erdogan was in Washington on Thursday to attend a major nuclear security summit hosted by President Barack Obama, and was giving a speech at the Brookings Institution.
Members of the Turkish president’s security detail moved to clear out about 40 pro-Kurdish protesters who had gathered outside the think tank, calling Erdogan a “terrorist” and “baby killer.”
The Turkish security attempted to shout down the protesters’ chants and destroy their banners.
The protest in the US capital came after Amnesty International called on the Turkish government to address human rights violations against its Kurdish population.
A small counter-demonstration also turned up at the scene, with one banner reading, “No difference between PKK and ISIS,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Daesh terrorist group.
A reporter with US media outlet NPR was kicked out by Erdogan’s security staff during the scuffle.
About 20 US police officers tried to separate the two sides.
The Pentagon said earlier this week that families of the US military personnel have been ordered to leave Turkey “due to continued security concerns.”
Turkey has been hit by a number of bombings in recent months, mostly blamed on Daesh or the PKK militants.
The country has also been the scene of violence between government forces and PKK militants. Moreover, the Turkish government faces widespread condemnation over its gagging of critical media outlets as well as MPs, scholars, lawyers and NGOs.