Turkey: Detained US Pastor Is Both 'Gulenist' and Kurdish Sympathizer

Angie Massey
May 19, 2017

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a statement to reporters alongside U.S President Donald Trump after their meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 16, 2017.

Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield operation inside Syria previous year, backing Syrian rebels with tanks, air strikes and special forces to sweep Islamic State from its southern border and stop the advance of the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.

The Turkish ambassador, Serdar Kilic, was summoned to the State Department on Wednesday and rebuked.

Video captured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan watching as his government security detail and several armed individuals violently clashed with protesters.

Trump has yet to comment personally on the skirmish, but the State Department did issue a statement saying it is "concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening".

The melee followed an otherwise uneventful Oval Office meeting between President Trump and Erdogan at which the two agreed to fight terrorism, Erdogan's definition of "terrorists" sadly including just about anyone who disagrees with him.

Nine people were injured, one severely, and two were arrested, apparently one from the pro-Kurd side and one from the pro-Erdogan side.

Cavusoglu said Turkey received USA assurances that arms sent to the YPG would only be used against IS, without explaining how this would be monitored. One of the men in suits can be seen kicking a woman who had already been knocked to the ground.

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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Video appeared to show Erdogan's bodyguards hitting and kicking protesters and pulling out guns as D.C. police tried to intervene.

Shortly afterward, chaos begins, which the police in D.C. said was a "brutal attack on peace protesters" by a member of Erdogan's security detail.

For their part, the Turkish Embassy blamed the violence on the protesters, the AP reported. Turkey sees them as a PKK extension and existential threat to Turkish sovereignty.

"We said we would not be in such an operation with you where you ally with terror organizations and so we said good luck", Erdogan said.

"Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest", a US State Department statement on Wednesday said.

"When we take this step, we don't speak or consult with anyone as we don't have any time to waste".

The hard line that the Trump administration has wanted to apply to peace-loving immigrants who are in this country illegally must apply to visitors who wantonly break this nation's laws.

The PKK is considered a terror group by the US and Turkey's Western allies.

Other reports by GizPress

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