Turkey demands US replace envoy in spat over Syrian Kurds

Trump and Erdogan

Turkey's ambassador to the US ought to be kicked "the hell out" after Turkish security officials engaged in a bloody clash with protesters outside his Washington, D.C., residence, Sen.

The US state department said Turkish security guards had been involved in the clash but Turkey blamed the protesters for the disturbance. He warned that senior US diplomat Brett McGurk, in the anti-IS coalition, should not "poison" the administration by backing Kurdish groups. Information about his case and the charges have been less than forthcoming from Turkey's government, and advocates in the USA and elsewhere are concerned that he is being held as a pawn on baseless charges in a violation of his religious freedom.

Multiple videos taken at the scene by Voice of America show that supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan initiated the violence with one supporter shoving a female protester to the ground.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the armed services committee, called for the Turkish ambassador to the United States to be thrown out of the country on Thursday.

McCain said "this kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically".

Attacking the small group of protesters with their fists and feet, men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking a different woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk.

The office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released a statement Thursday afternoon condemning the violence and used the incident to swipe at Trump: "The unprovoked, vicious attack on peaceful protestors by Turkish security agents was appalling and a graphic reminder of how political dissent in Turkey is routinely crushed with impunity". Seconds later, a group of men run across the street and start punching and kicking protesters. The descent of Turkey into a strongman state is discouraging, and there's no sign that it's going to turn around any time soon.

Summary⎙ Print Calls are growing in Washington for a serious response to the violent behavior of the Turkish president's security detail as a high-level investigation opens and a prominent senator speaks out.

The bloody brawl sent nine to the hospital and Turkish security officials were seen coming out of the ambassador's residence, then retreating to the residence grounds, a law enforcement official said, adding that the same scenario played out a couple of times.

That attack has been condemned by the US State Department and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, who wrote a letter urging the secretary of State and US attorney general to hold the attackers accountable. Others were hired from the Turkish-American community, raising questions about whether they will receive diplomatic protection.

Tensions between Washington and Istanbul are running high after the Trump administration announced plans to arm Kurdish Syrian militants fighting the Islamic State group despite intense opposition from Turkey, which considers the Kurds as terrorists.

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