One day after the protests at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., became violent, the State Department has criticized Turkey’s government.
A footage showed security forces of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pushing and forcing to pass by the police and aggressively while breaking up a protest taking place outside the ambassador’s diplomatic house.
Several protesters were hit and kicked in the head. Dozens of people were injured during the protest.
The Metropolitan Police Department’s investigators are cooperating with the Secret Service and the State Department to find the people on the videos.
The State Department published a statement concerning Tuesday’s melee:
“We are concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening. Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.
“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
It’s not known how much President Erdogan’s security team was involved.
“It’s part of an unfortunate theme that surrounds many of his overseas trips,” Ishaan Tharoor, Foreign Affairs writer for The Washington Post, said.
Tharoor added: “Just last year, when Erdogan was back in the States for a summit on nuclear security, at Brookings, outside Brookings, [in Washington, D.C.], there were similar protests and similar unseemly scenes of clashes along Massachusetts Avenue. There have been incidents involving his security detail in Ecuador. And in general, Erdogan is a figure who presides over profound political polarization back home.
“He has, in many senses, further deeply divided Turkey and builds his politics on a kind of very vehement nationalism that leads to these kinds of scenes among the diaspora overseas. And at the same time, of course, he is somebody who survived a coup attempt last year. So for him, and presuming for a security detail, opposition and especially vocal opposition — they don’t take it very lightly.”