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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 with Under Secretary of State Tom Shannon on Wednesday, officials tell the BBC.

Eleven people were injured outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence amid 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 were aggressively provoking Turkish-Americans who had gathered to greet the president, and they in turn responded in self-defence.

The meeting of the Turkish envoy and the US official took place at the State Department on Wednesday, and comes amid 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… This kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically,” Senator John McCain told MSNBC’s Morning Joe programme on Thursday.

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.”

Senators McCain and Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to the Turkish president on Thursday, saying “the actions of your staff… reflects poorly on your government”.

“We have long supported Turkey as a member of Nato, and a key US ally in the region, and we expect conduct more appropriate to our decades-long partnership.”

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.

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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”.

He added several of Mr Erdogan’s security personnel 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”.

BBC News – World

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