USA releases 2 Turkish bodyguards after violence

The State Department summoned Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic after bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan violently attacked protesters Tuesday. The department says the ambassador met Wednesday with Tom Shannon, the acting deputy secretary of state and highest-ranking career US diplomat.

On Wednesday, the State Department said "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech".

The Turkish Embassy released a statement claiming the protestors were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president", and thus caused Erdogan's supporters to respond in self-defense. His security detail scuffled with demonstrators as well as members of the press outside the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.in March 2016.

Turkey's embassy blamed the violence on groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - a group fighting the government. A previous video from Voice of America showed police officers struggling to protect protesters and ordering the attackers to stop.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John McCain, R-Arizona, sent a sharply worded letter to Erdogan on Thursday that demanded he punish his bodyguards and noted that it reflected his government's oppressive tactics.

Twelve people, including a police officer were hurt during the melee.

The US agrees with Turkey in designating the PKK as a terrorist organization, but rejects the idea that Kurdish forces in Syria or Iraq should be treated in the same fashion.

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Washington's Metropolitan Police Department said it had arrested two United States residents, Ayten Necmi, 49, and Jalal Kheirabadi, 42, over the incident, according to the BBC.

Turkey and the United States have branded the PKK a terrorist group, but the United States thinks differently about the YPG and fights with them against ISIS.

The U.S. State Department said the episode was "deeply disturbing" and promised that an investigation would hold those responsible to account.

"The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration", the embassy added. "I'm scared now too because I don't know how it will affect my life here in the United States", said Tankan, who lives in Arlington, Virginia.

"This kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically", he said.

President Donald Trump, accompanied byTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Tuesday, May 16, 2017. He added that some members of the pro-Erdogan group were carrying firearms, which made it more hard for police to contain the scene.

"This is what happens in Turkey - this is not what happens in the US", he told the paper.

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