State Department summons Turkish ambassador after attack on protesters

The scene outside the Turkish embassy after an altercation on May 16, 2017.


WASHINGTON -- The Turkish ambassador was summoned to the State Department after Turkish security personnel attacked protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence on Tuesday night when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Washington for a meeting with President Trump. Eleven people were injured, including one police officer. 

The State Department also said that two members of the Turkish security detail were briefly detained during the altercations. 

On Thursday, Voice of America's Turkish Service released video showing Erdogan observing from the back seat of a car while his security team pursued and attacked the protesters. 

U.S. Secret Service handcuffed and detained Turkish officials who punched and kicked the protesters -- another angle is shown here, also by Voice of America's Turkish Service. While handcuffing the Turkish personnel, a couple of U.S. Secret Service agents suffered superficial wounds. When the agents verified that the men who attacked the protesters had diplomatic status, they were released to the State Department. 

"The Secret Service fully respects individuals' First Amendment Right to free speech and the right to peacefully protest," the Secret Service said in a statement. "We will continue to work with our partners at MPD and the State Department to aggressively pursue accountability for those involved in yesterday's protests." 

A thorough investigation is ongoing says the State Department. They have raised concerns with the Turkish government "at the highest levels. They will not speculate about the current investigation. "We are not going to go into specifics or speculate on what may happen," a State Department official said in a statement.

As a result, beyond concern, no action has been taken so far.

"We should throw their ambassador the hell out of America," said Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, on "Morning Joe" when he was asked about the incident. "This is the United States of America. This isn't Turkey. This isn't a third-world country, and this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically." 

McCain argued that there should be "repercussions" for violating American laws. 

The Turkish embassy claimed that the protests turned violent as a result of individuals who were affiliated with the PKK, an organization on the State Department's designated terrorist list, that has carried out attacks in its country but has yet to carry out an attack in the U.S.