US Senator John McCain, one of the leading foreign policy voices in Congress, yesterday urged the expulsion of Turkey’s US ambassador after violence erupted between pro-Kurdish militant protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit.
A brawl erupted outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C. on Tuesday as Erdogan was visiting the embassy. Protesters who support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) turned up and started provoking Erdogan’s security detail as well as Turkish-American citizens who had come to see the Turkish leader.
Footage from Voice of America appeared to show Erdogan getting out of his car as the violence started, watching on for a short time before turning to enter his nation’s embassy.
The pro-PKK protesters were shouting slurs and insults, and Turkish requests for the police to intervene were repeatedly ignored, leading to the clash with the troublemakers.
Reacting to the scuffle, McCain told MSNBC in an interview on Thursday:
We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America.
“This kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically,” McCain, the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the interviewer, adding that legal action could also be pursued.
“These are not just average people that did this beating. This is Erdogan’s security detail…Somebody told them to and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators,” McCain alleged without identifying who could have given those orders.
Turkish security guards’ attack on peaceful protesters this wk was a despicable display of thuggery & repression – absolutely unacceptable https://t.co/NQL0KychH4
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 18, 2017
“I think it should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them. After all, they violated American laws in the United States of America.”
Although the PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the EU, their supporters are usually not arrested in western countries in the same manner that sympathisers of Daesh, another terrorist organisation, routinely are.