Protests outside of the home of the Turkish ambassador became a massive brawl when fights broke out among supporters and protestors.
Nine people were reported injured when a protest turned violent outside of the home the Turkish ambassador on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, two dozen protesters showed up outside of the Turkish Embassy after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recp Tayyip Erdorgan at the White House. Some of the protests were against the policies in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Meanwhile, supporters of the Turkish president were also on-hand and are accused of starting fights and breaching police lines on more than three occasions.
Videos show several protestors covered in blood. The protestors are accusing the supporters of engaging in the suppression of free speech and protest in the same manner as Erdogan’s regime. The attacks occurred when protestors moved from the outside of the Embassy to the outside of the ambassador’s home where the Turkish President was visiting after his meeting. Those who were injured in the clash were taken to the George Washington University Hospital.
Erdogan is known as an authoritarian leader whose relationship with the Obama administration was strained; the protests began as Trump extended a welcome to Erdogan. Trump says that the two sides engage in strong and solid discussions and make the relationship better. The U.S.’s relationship with Turkey has been affected by the U.S.’s refusal of the extradition of a Turkish cleric who is accused by Erdogan of attempting a coup against him in July. Also, damaging to the two countries’ relationship is Trump's decision to provide military aid in the form of arms to Kurdish militias fighting against ISIS. Turkey, meanwhile, views Kurdish militias as a part of the Kurdish Workers Party, which is considered by most of the world as a terrorist group.
Turkey is a member of NATO and an important ally in battling against ISIS. The U.S. often uses Incirlik Air Base in the fight against terrorist groups of the region.
On Tuesday, lawmakers of both parties pleaded with Trump to bring up human rights issues with the Turkish President as the suppression of dissent has increased in his nation. In the plea, weakened democratic institutions were cited, as were mass arrests, restrictions on civil society, and the stifling of basic human rights. Trump, however, did not address the agreements in the meeting while praising Turkey’s role in fighting against ISIS. Trump has made it clear that the U.S. will continue to offer support to Turkey in the country’s efforts to fight terrorism and that commercial and trade ties would be reinvigorated. Trump says that the two countries' relationship can be improved in these areas.