US lawmakers condemn Turkish president's security detail after protesters were attacked in Washington

Business Insider | May 19, 2017, 06.07AM IST

recep tayyip erdogan turkey protest washington

Screenshot via Voice of America Turkish

Security agents surround Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's vehicle in Washington, DC.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to watch as members of his security detail attacked protesters on US soil during a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

New video published Thursday shows Erdogan's black Mercedes sedan surrounded by agents as it sat parked near the demonstrations.

The scuffle between protesters, men in suits, and local police can be seen in the background. Erdogan emerges from the vehicle and watches as the demonstration goes off the rails.

US lawmakers pressed the Trump administration on Thursday to condemn the violence, which they said resembled repressive crackdowns on political dissent in third-world countries.

"There must be consequences," Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Thursday. Sen. John McCain of Arizona said in an interview on MSNBC, "This isn't Turkey. This isn't a third-world country."

A Turkish affiliate of the news organization Voice of America captured most of the footage of the protest and the violence that later ensued.

Watch video of the brawl below:

Turkish ambassador to the US Serdar Kılıç was summoned to the State Department after the brawl.

A State Department official told CNN "the conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing." The official said the State Department was investigating the matter and raised concerns "at the highest levels."

turkey protest washington DC

Screenshot via VOA Turkish

A view of a protest that turned violent outside the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C., May 16, 2017.

The Turkish Embassy blamed the demonstrators, accusing them of provoking Turkish-Americans who were there to support Erdogan.

Two members of the Turkish president's security staff were questioned and later released. None have been arrested, per a US official who told the Associated Press that Erdogan's guards were allowed to leave the US under globally recognized customs that protect heads of state and their staff from arrest.

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