US, Turkey spar over Erdogan visit violence, Kurdish support

Trump and Erdogan

Trump and Erdogan

United States lawmakers pressed the Trump administration on Thursday to condemn the violence, which they said resembled repressive crackdowns on political dissent in third-world countries.

Last year, McGurk visited YPG members who controlled the Syrian town of Kobane and was awarded a plaque, which drew Turkey's wrath.

Just days after a brutal fight outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC, that left at least a dozen people injured, video footage has surfaced showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calmly watching the violence near his auto.

The White House hasn't commented on the altercation, but President Trump has been criticized for his positive comments on foreign leaders, like Erdogan, who have been criticized for their records on political freedom and human rights.

Turkey is ready to retaliate if it faces a threat from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and will not shirk from launching a military campaign if need be, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

The official added that the State Department found the conduct of Turkish security personnel "deeply disturbing", and a thorough investigation that will allow the United States to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of "upmost importance".

"We are already telling you in advance: Our rules of engagement give us this authority", Erdogan said.

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The US state department said Turkish security guards had been involved in the clash but Turkey blamed the protesters for the disturbance.

"We can not turn a blind eye to these actions at home, and we urge you to hold accountable those members of your staff who violently attacked peaceful protestors in our nation's capital".

Trump's approval, before the visit, of plans to arm the YPG as it advances towards Islamic State's Raqqa stronghold had overshadowed talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, but Erdogan did not directly criticise the plan at the White House. His appearance at the Brookings Institution during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit was marred when his security detail roughed up demonstrators and tried to eject "undesired" journalists.

The Turkish embassy did not respond to questions about why video evidence contradicts their statement or whether they believe violent attacks are an appropriate response to protests.

United States officials told Ankara that the YPG would not constitute a threat for Turkey and that arms supplied by Washington would be used in Raqa and in the south, not against Turkey, Cavusoglu said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC said he wants "people prosecuted".

The council has been set up to manage the city once Daesh militants have been ousted. In all, nine people were hurt.

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