US & Canada

US summons Turkey envoy for embassy brawl

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Media captionProtesters injured outside Turkish embassy in Washington

The US has summoned the Turkish ambassador after violence erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel in Washington on Tuesday.

Ambassador Serdar Kılıç met Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon on Wednesday, officials tell the BBC.

Eleven people were injured outside the Turkish ambassador's residence during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit.

Video footage of the clash on Tuesday showed men in suits charging past police to kick and punch protesters.

Washington police called the violence a "brutal attack on peaceful protesters".

But the Turkish embassy said the demonstrators had aggressively provoked Turkish-Americans gathering to greet the president, and they in turn had responded in self-defence.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused senior US diplomat Brett McGurk of backing Kurdish militants and said he should be sent home.

He said on Thursday that Mr McGurk, the US envoy to the coalition against so-called Islamic State (IS), was "definitely" supporting a Kurdish militant group, the Popular Protection Units (YPG), in Syria, as well as a Kurdish separatist group in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group linked to the PKK, which has been fighting inside Turkey since the 1980s. Last week Mr Trump said he would arm the Syrian Kurds in the fight against IS.

Tensions have been high since the violent scuffle outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.

The incident drew an outcry among US lawmakers.

Senator John McCain on Thursday called for the envoy to be expelled.

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Image caption Trump and Erdogan met at the White House earlier that day

"We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America..." he told MSNBC's Morning Joe programme on Thursday.

"This kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically."

Democratic senator Claire McCaskill said she agreed with her Republican colleague, tweeting: "Unacceptable. They were assaulting these people on US soil. Turkish Ambassador should be kicked out of country."

Earlier this week the State Department released a statement saying it was "concerned by the violent incidents" and confirmed Turkish security guards were involved.

Mr Erdogan, who met President Donald Trump earlier in the day, was visiting the Turkish ambassador's residence when the scuffle broke out.

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

It was unclear if they were members of Mr Erdogan's security or protesters.

Police Chief Peter Newsham said on Wednesday the violence was "not something we tolerate in our city".

Several of Mr Erdogan's security personnel, he added, were armed with guns, which made the incident especially "dicey" for local police officers trying to keep protests peaceful.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce also sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging them to take action over the clashes.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said it was "an affront to DC values and our rights as Americans".

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