Shortly after the meeting and joint-statement between president Trump and Turkish president Erdogan yesterday, a fight which saw the participation of Erdogan's bodyguards erupted in front of the Turkish embassy in DC between supporters and Kurdish opponents of the Turkish president, in which nine people were injured and taken to a hosptial and two arrests were made.
Photos and videos shared on social media showed a melee of people kicking and punching as the police tried to intervene. At one point, a man threw a bullhorn, two men could be seen bleeding from the head, and another man was on the ground being violently kicked, according to the NYT.
Witnesses reported that the brawl erupted when Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the residence. A local NBC television affiliate reported Erdogan was inside the building at the time. Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the altercation broke out between two groups but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances. He said two people were arrested, including one who was charged with assaulting a police officer.
The VOA Turkish reported that a group of Kurdish protesters clashed with supporters of the Turkish president and that his security guards got involved in the fighting. A group of demonstrators started to chant anti-Erdogan slogans and held up placards that read “Free Demirtas,” a reference to Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed leader of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or H.D.P.
A separate group waving Turkish flags arrived and started chanting slogans in support of Mr. Erdogan, the VOA reported. The verbal stand off then turned physical.
“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” Yazidi Kurd demonstrator Lucy Usoyan told ABC, adding that she was attacked by a pro-Erdogan supporter quoted by the Associated Press.
“Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”
Hours earlier Trump and Erdogan stood side by side at the White House and promised to strengthen strained ties despite the Turkish leader’s stern warning about Washington’s arming of a Kurdish militia.
Erdogan, fresh from securing his grip on Turkey with a referendum to enhance his powers, arrived at the Oval Office with complaints about US support for Kurdish fighters and what Ankara says is Washington’s harbouring of the mastermind of a failed coup. But according to AP both leaders also tried to put a brave face on their differences and to renew a key alliance between Nato’s leading power and its biggest Muslim member, partners in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to take the YPG-PYD into consideration as partners in the region, and it’s going against a global agreement we reached,” Erdogan said, referring to the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
“In the same way, we should never allow those groups who want to change the ethnic or religious structures in the region to use terrorism as a pretext,” he added, suggesting that the Kurds were using the anti-Isis fight as cover for separatist nationalism.
Just a few hours later, Erdogan vividly demonstrated precisely how he treats "those groups" not only in Turkey but also in the US.