Videos show protesters at NY Erdogan speech punched, hit while being removed

Protesters at a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were violently removed from the room.

YouTube / Amerika'nın Sesi

Videos posted on social media appeared to show protesters in New York being hit and punched as they were removed from a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

According to one video on Twitter, a protester who appeared to be American yelled at Erdogan, "You're a terrorist! Get out of my country!"

The scuffles took place as Erdogan addressed the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), a group friendly to Erdogan, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Erdoğan’ı New York’ta Protesto Edenlere Yaka Paça Müdahale by Amerika'nın Sesi on YouTube

Here's a ground-level view: 

Erdoğan'ı Protesto Edenlere Sert Müdahale by Amerika'nın Sesi on YouTube

Earlier this year, members of Erdogan's own security detail were indicted by a grand jury for attacking protesters in May 2017 during a Washington visit -- as he looked on. But this point, it is unclear whose security detail was punching and hitting the protesters as they were being removed. 

There are several possibilities and quite a bit of blame, but no admission of responsibility.

The State Department doesn't think it's the Turkish detail, though. Citing U.S. law enforcement officials, a State Department official said that "at this time, it does not appear that Turkish security officials were involved in this incident."

The host group TASC initially blamed the U.S. Secret Service for the rough treatment of the protesters, claiming in a statement, "The U.S. secret service arrested four YPG supporters for trespass and disturbing the event." It went on to say, "President Erdogan calmly and wisely restored order, and the program continued seamlessly and successfully." (YPG is a Kurdish opposition group.)

But the Secret Service denies any involvement in the incident, CBS News reports. The Secret Service did say there were agents present in the room, though. Secret Service says that after the heckling, five individuals were escorted from the room by hotel security and the NYPD, but they were not arrested, and neither were they charged.

The NYPD, however, told CBS News' Duncan McKenna that it also had no involvement in the removal of the protesters, and initially said that it was the Turkish security detail that had dealt with the protesters before clarifying that it was the security connected to the event that had removed them.

The private security firm hired for the event by TASC, Entourage Security, initially told CBS News that the U.S. Secret Service was involved before saying that they would get more information about the incident from the guards who had worked the event.

A subsequent statement by TASC then thanked "hotel security and professional private security company for restoring the safety of our private event, which five supporters of the PKK/YPG terror organizations disrupted by trespassing, yelling and screaming, intimidating and harassing our guests, and provoking violence with hate language and fighting words."

TASC's website described "an enthusiastic crowd" of close to 4,000 Turkish Americans, Muslims and Americans. Erdogan, the website said, was emphasizing "the importance of being kind and helping the needy, at home and abroad," when YPG supporters disrupted the event. 

President Trump met with Erdogan earlier Thursday and had words of praise for him during their photo op. 

"He's running a very difficult part of the world.  He's involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he's getting very high marks.  And he's also been working with the United States," the president said. "We have a great friendship as countries.  I think we're, right now, as close as we have ever been.  And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship." He made no mention of Erdogan's crackdown on his opponents in the wake of a coup attempt against him last year.

CBS News' Kylie Atwood, Katie Ross Dominick, Duncan McKenna and William Patterson contributed to this report.