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Former Turkey apologist becomes Turkey lobbyist! Some people never change.


May 22 2017
Amid complicated relations with U.S., Turkey hires longtime Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard

By Marc Caputo

05/22/2017 12:21 PM EDT

MIAMI — President Donald Trump’s longtime Florida lobbyist, Brian Ballard, has expanded his practice globally and just signed a $1.5 million contract with the government of Turkey, which will be represented by the firm’s new big hire, former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler.

Ballard Partners' Turkey contract, inked Friday, comes on the heels of two other international clients signed by the firm: A March 6 $900,000 contract with the Dominican Republic and an April 1 $240,000 contract with the Socialist Party of Albania, the ruling party in the Balkan nation.

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"I'm excited about the firm's growing international practice and look forward to working with this important US and NATO ally,” Ballard, who still speaks to Trump on occasion after representing the Trump Organization for years in Tallahassee, said in a brief written statement.

The contract with Turkey is the firm’s highest profile foreign client and could be its most controversial amid unrest in the nation under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Turkey protested to the U.S. ambassador in Ankara that U.S. officials took "aggressive and unprofessional actions" against Turkish bodyguards in Washington last week when they beat protesters demonstrating against Erdogan. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday denounced the violent clash and told “Fox News Sunday” that State Department had called in the ambassador of Turkey to discuss the incident and say “that this is simply unacceptable.”

Meantime, amid a special counsel’s examining of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, has come under increasing scrutiny for his Turkish lobbying, which was also linked to a Russian oil deal.

Wexler, a Democrat who served in Congress from 1997 until 2010 and helped found the Turkey Caucus in the U.S. House nearly 20 years ago, was circumspect in addressing the melee.

“It’s not debatable that peaceful protest in the United States of America is sacrosanct,” Wexler said.

Wexler is new to lobbying and joined Ballard Partners in March. He’s still serving as president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, a Washington-based think tank devoted to Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Wexler said he saw his role representing Turkey as one in which he tries to advance the interests of both nations, which have been longtime allies.

“Any issue that is critical to American security interests or geopolitical interests — whether the destruction of ISIS or al Qaeda, or advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives or energy security, or stopping the flow of refugees through Europe or advancing American military strategy in the region — Turkey is a central player,” Wexler said. Though our interests vary at times, I’ve devoted myself to try to bridge those differences.”

Ballard Partners' trifecta of foreign clients follows its decision to expand in Washington this year after the election of Trump.




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I highly doubt it will amount to anything!

The Armenian Weekly

May 23 2017
Top United States Senate Appropriators Threaten Turkey Aid

By Contributor on May 23, 2017 in Headline, News // 0 Comments // http://armenianweekly.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-email/images/email_famfamfam.png // http://armenianweekly.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-print/images/printer_famfamfam.gif

Twenty-Nine U.S. Representatives Press Secretary Tillerson to Take Decisive Action against Ankara

WASHINGTON—Congressional uproar over the May 16th brutal beating of peaceful American protesters in Washington, D.C. by Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s security forces pushed into a second week, with top U.S. Senate appropriators – Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) – threatening to cut U.S. assistance to Ankara if the matter is not given “the highest attention and consideration it deserves by the Government of Turkey,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).


Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leah (D-Vt.) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) are among the top Senate and House leaders condemning the brutal attack by Turkey President Erdogan’s security officers in Washington D.C.

In a May 18 letter to Turkey’s Ambassador, Serdar Kilic, Senators Graham and Leahy stressed: “We would like to remind you that peaceful assembly and freedom of speech are fundamental rights in this country. The aggressiveness and brutality demonstrated by the Turkish security personnel are interpreted by many of us as much more than an attack against peaceful demonstrators – it is an attack against these very rights.” The text of this Senate letter is provided below.

Across the U.S. Capitol, 29 U.S. Representatives, led by Congressional Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), called on the State Department to take swift action and hold perpetrators accountable. “This kind of behavior by a foreign security detail is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. These actions are not only criminal, they are affronts to U.S. values,” House leaders told Secretary of State Tillerson in their May 19 letter. “Freedom of speech and freedom to protest may be prohibited in Turkey and offensive to the Turkish President, but they are bedrock U.S. principles that must be safeguarded.” The full text of the U.S. House letter is provided below.

Congressional co-signers joining Rep. Carolyn Maloney include Representatives: Don Beyer (D-Va.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

These legislators join a broad range of Senate and House leaders who spoke out last week condemning the President Erdogan for the attack, including Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) who called for Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Serdar Kilic to be sent back to Ankara. Congressman Don Beyer, who has previously served in the U.S. foreign service as Ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, also called for Amb. Kilic’s ouster and signed on to this Congressional letter as well.

To learn more about the Congressional reaction, visit:

“We would like to thank Senators Graham and Leahy, Representative Maloney and her 28 colleagues, and all the Members of Congress who continue to press for concrete consequences to President Erdogan’s brutal attack on peaceful protesters in our nation’s capital,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “These Congressional protests need to be followed by serious policy-level actions – starting with the Administration’s immediate expulsion of Ambassador Kilic, a Congressional suspension on all aid to Turkey, and Ankara’s blanket waiver of immunity for any and all involved in this unprovoked assault.”

The ANCA has issued a call for concerned advocates—www.anca.org/erdogan—to reach out to President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, and Senate and House legislators demanding the immediate expulsion of the Turkish ambassador.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16th attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with representatives of The Atlantic Council, a leading think tank in Washington, D.C. which receives funding from Turkey. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters—elderly men and several women – who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.

Voice of America Turkish division, in their video coverage shot from the vantage point of the Turkish Ambassador’s house, reported that the attackers belonged to President Erdogan’s security detail and were responsible for escalating the violence.

“The fights flared up after President Erdogan’s arrival at the Embassy residence,” reported Voice of America. “After the first bout of fights died down, Erdogan’s special security forces joined the second stage of fights. Fisticuffs and kicks ensued. The Washington Police Forces had great difficulty in preventing the fights. They had to use batons against Erdogan’s security forces.”

The Turkish language news item is available here.

Additional VOA Turkish video has now surfaced showing President Erdogan ordering his security detail to attack the protesters, then watching calmly as the beatings were carried out. Audio analysis carried out by the Daily Caller shows Erdogan’s bodyguards yelling “gel, gel, gel” — “come, come, come” — and “dalın diyor, dalın diyor, dalın diyor,” – “he says attack, he says attack, he says attack.”

The Daily Caller’s coverage is available here:

The Washington Post has done a second-by-second analysis of the VOA Turkish videos and identified the Erdogan’s order of the attack, available here: http://wapo.st/2qCRjjD

The U.S. State Department called the Turkish Ambassador in for a discussion last week regarding the incident, officially expressing their dismay, calling the actions of President Erdogan’s bodyguards “unacceptable.” President Trump has yet to comment on the matter.

In a highly incendiary move, on May 22, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. Ambassador John Bass for a diplomatic discussion, accusing U.S. police and security personnel of “aggressive and unprofessional actions.”

Since reporting on the attacks by President Erdogan’s security forces, the ANCA has received threatening phone calls and messages on social media. These intimidation tactics have been reported to the Metropolitan Police and other authorities, and are now under investigation.

The protest in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence was a continuation of a demonstration held earlier in the day in front of the White House, co-hosted by the ANCA. As President Trump met with President Erdogan, human rights and religious rights groups were joined by representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi and Armenian communities to call attention to the Erdogan regime’s escalating repression against free press, the Kurdish and other ethnic communities, as well as Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide.

Senate Foreign Appropriators Letter to Turkey Ambassador Kilic

The Honorable Serdar Kilic
Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20008

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

We write to you to express our profound dismay at the reported attack by Turkish security personnel against peaceful protestors outside your residence during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington, D.C.

We would like to remind you that peaceful assembly and freedom of speech are fundamental rights in this country. The aggressiveness and brutality demonstrated by the Turkish security personnel are interpreted by many of us as much more than an attack against peaceful demonstrators – it is an attack against these very rights. This incident is nothing short of an embarrassment for the Government of Turkey, and an unnecessary and self-inflicted strain on our bilateral relations.

We encourage local law enforcement personnel to prosecute perpetrators of this attack to the fullest extent of the law, and support the expulsion from the United States of any diplomatic personnel involved.

We also ask that you meet with the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss this matter further, including potential implications for assistance for Turkey should this matter be given less than the highest attention and consideration it deserves by the Government of Turkey.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Congressional Letter to Secretary Tillerson Condemning Erdogan’s Security Forces Attack on American Protesters

The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

On May 16, members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail were caught on video brutally attacking protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. and deliberately disregarding police orders to halt their assaults. The video is incredibly disturbing. We urge you to immediately condemn this outrageous attack in the strongest terms possible and use all tools at your disposal so that these men are denied diplomatic immunity and prosecuted to the fullest extent of U.S. law.

Based on the video of the incident, these Turkish security guards should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Numerous members of President Erdogan’s security detail kicked, punched, and trampled people holding posters who were standing in a park that is clearly not part of the embassy. These Turkish security guards kicked men and women crouched on the ground and disregarded numerous commands by police to cease and desist. According to news reports, nine people were hurt, including two who were seriously injured and taken to the hospital. The blooded faces on the video are shocking.

This kind of behavior by a foreign security detail is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. These actions are not only criminal, they are affronts to U.S. values. Freedom of speech and freedom to protest may be prohibited in Turkey and offensive to the Turkish President, but they are bedrock U.S. principles that must be safeguarded.

Although the State Department’s spokesperson has issued a statement on this matter, more must be done. It is incumbent upon you, as the top diplomat of the United States, to speak out publicly against these actions and, just as importantly, ensure that these men are held fully accountable for their actions.





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Chairman Ed Royce of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was joined today by Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House - Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Steny Hoyer - in introducing H.Res.354, condemning the Turkish government's May 16th attack on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC - reported the ANCA.
This bipartisan measure will be considered during tomorrow morning's meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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The full text of the ANCA's Aram Suren Hamparian's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee of Europe regarding the Erdogan-ordered attacks on American protesters.

Aram Hamparian
Executive Director
Armenian National Committee of America
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
May 25, 2017

Violence Outside the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence:
The Right to Peaceful Protest

Thank you Chairman Rohrabacher and Ranking Member Meeks for this opportunity to testify about the May 16th attack by Turkish President Erdogan's bodyguards against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador's residence.

I participated in this peaceful protest at Sheridan Circle and was witness to this brutal assault on Americans and American values.

I personally saw unprovoked attacks by President Erdogan's bodyguards and others against civilians protesting the Turkish government's policies. The Turkish President's security detail was large, clearly well-trained, and extremely violent - kicking and punching protesters even after they had fallen to the ground defenseless and, in at least one case, unconscious. I did my best to help the injured and stayed with many of them later that evening while they were being cared for at the George Washington University Hospital's emergency room.

Live footage that I filmed for the Armenian National Committee of America Facebook page served as source video for CNN, the Associated Press, and other major media outlets. Our viral video spread news of this incident around the world and, along with excellent video and reporting by the Voice of America and others, helped place a global spotlight upon the Erdogan regime's increasingly violent efforts to suppress dissent, both at home and now, increasingly, abroad. Your leadership in educating your Congressional colleagues and the American public about this outrage is deeply appreciated.

At the time of the incident I felt certain that it was an orchestrated attack, launched on orders from above. Video evidence I have reviewed subsequent to the violence, including a frame-by-frame analysis by the Washington Post and an audio analysis by the Daily Caller, confirm my conviction that this attack was, in fact, launched at the direction of President Erdogan.

At the time, I offered live, on-the-scene comments. While rushed and shared in a stressful setting, my words then reflect my views today:

"This is the very type of intolerance that has come to predominate in Turkey, and it is now been exported here. I was here. I saw every bit of this. I saw a group of peaceful protestors in Sheridan Circle - there is grassy area across the street from Turkish Ambassadors residence - they were protesting, exercising their Constitutional right to speak their mind, to hold signs, to share their opinion, to express their views."

"They were rushed from across the street by a group of - a pro Erdogan crowd - broke through the police lines, attacked just literally anybody within reach, with their fists and anything else they could get a hold of, and they beat as many people as they could, they left many bloodied, many have been taken to the hospital. This is exactly the type of violence you see in Ankara and they're exporting it here. They're exporting it here. I'm going to repeat myself: It's one thing for the Turkish government to do that to its own citizens, and it's a terrible thing. It's another thing for us, as Americans, to see that exported to the United States, and it was exported to right here to the nation's capital. Right here, blocks from the White House!"

The fact that Erdogan would act in such a brazen and brutal manner against Americans during a high-profile visit to Washington, DC offers a chilling insight into the depths of violence his forces visit every day upon those in Turkey who - far from the media spotlight - dare to dissent against his despotic rule.

Last Tuesday's aggression by the Turkish government at Sheridan Circle is clearly part of an escalating and very troubling pattern. Having been allowed by U.S. Presidents - past and present - to enforce its gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government is now openly and unapologetically exporting its intolerance and violence to America.

Past incidents involving violence by President Erdogan's bodyguards include a 2011 attack on a United Nations security detail and also a March, 2016, assault on protesters and journalists outside the Brookings Institute here in Washington, DC. I took part in last year's Brookings protest and witnessed first-hand the violence visited by President Erdogan's security on people gathered, upon our internationally respected Embassy Row, to exercise their Constitutional rights.

President Erdogan is acting with remarkable arrogance and absolute disdain for our country, open disrespect for our police, and outright contempt for the principles that inspire and guide our democracy. The news that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has filed an official protest with U.S. Ambassador John Bass over the conduct of U.S. law enforcement offices is as outrageous as it is offensive.

By way of background, our protest in Sheridan Circle followed an early, larger demonstration held across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. The ANCA co-hosted this protest, along with other civil society groups concerned about a broad array of Turkish violations of human rights, humanitarian standards, press freedoms, and international law.

Our Facebook event page was titled, "Protest Against The Erdogan Dictatorship," and invited supporters to "Join supporters of human rights, religious liberty, and regional peace at a rally outside the White House (in Lafayette Park) during President Trump's May 16th meeting with Turkish President Erdogan. Among the issues listed on this page were: Erdogan's post-coup consolidation of authoritarian power; mass arrests of the HDP leadership; vast purge of his political opposition; arrest of record numbers of journalists; restrictions on religious freedom and worship; Wikipedia ban and social media crackdown; aggression against Kurds in Syria and Iraq; anti-American rhetoric and actions; continued military occupation of Cyprus; obstruction of justice for genocide of Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Greeks, and; illegal economic blockade of Armenia.

Among those protesting alongside human rights advocates, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks, and others at Lafayette Park was a religious freedom group seeking Turkey's release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen from North Carolina who, after leading a Christian ministry in Izmir for more than two decades, has, since October of 2016, been unjustly imprisoned in Turkey on trumped up charges.

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, I very much appreciate the opportunity to share my testimony with you today and look forward to answering any questions.

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Rep. Ted Poe Calls for Continued Protests at Turkish Embassy, with Reps. Rohrabacher, Cicilline, Wagner, and Sherman Offering to Attend in Solidarity

WASHINGTON—On May 25, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously adopted H.Res.354 condemning the May 16 attacks on peaceful protesters by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards, “calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) were joined by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in spearheading the Congressional effort, likely to be voted on in the full House in early June.

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s unanimous adoption of H.Res.354 represents a powerful bipartisan condemnation of Turkish President Erdogan’s attempts to export this brand of brutality to the United States,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “He and the regimes before him have gotten away with a century of genocide and repression—from the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrian in 1915 to the Kurds and other minorities today—through international intimidation, threats and coverups, and now violence on the streets of our nation’s capital. Congress and the Trump Administration need to send a strong message that this stops now.”

Citing the details of the May 16th attacks by President Erdogan’s bodyguards on peaceful protesters, and noting that this is the third time similar incidents have occurred in the U.S., Chairman Royce noted “The rights of peaceful protest and free expression are fundamental values in any democracy. By passing this resolution we reaffirm our commitment to protect these rights against all who seek to suppress them.”

“I was shocked. The last thing we expect to see in the United States is a strong man’s thugs silencing peaceful protesters,” said Ranking Democrat Engel, who noted that he had been invited to a meeting at the Turkish Embassy during the time of the beating but had not gone. “If Turkish government officials are going to come to our country and try to stifle American democracy and freedom of speech, there must be consequences.”

Read More:http://asbarez.com/163749/house-foreign-affairs-committee-unanimously-condemns-d-c-attacks-by-erdogans-bodyguards/

Noting that “Turkey has been under a downward spiral under an aspiring dictator, Erdogan,” Texas Congressman Ted Poe ® condemned the attacks. “We will have no foreign tyrant violating our sacred rights on American soil. Justice demands that he be held accountable and Turkey be held accountable,” said Rep. Poe, who then encouraged protesters to return to the Turkish Embassy and continue their protests, with several House Foreign Affairs Committee Members, including Rep. Poe, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Rep. Brad Sherman

Read More:


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Voice of America News
May 24, 2017

Victim of Turkish DC Embassy Brawl Set to Sue Over Injuries

by Arman Tarjimanyan

Victim of Turkish Embassy Brawl: White House Inaction Sign of 'Weakness'


A demonstrator involved in the last week's violent clash with guards
of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells VOA a lawsuit will be
filed over injuries sustained during the May 16 melee outside the
Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington.

Armenia-born Lucy Usoyan, an ethnic-Yazidi who became a U.S. citizen
after moving here with family at age 3, sustained a traumatic brain
injury during last week's brawl. In footage recorded by VOA Turkish
Usoyan, who is wearing red pants, can be seen lying unconscious on the
ground near at the 25-second mark.

"Many law offices have reached to us. Big law offices that have sued
different governments," she told VOA's Armenia Service on Tuesday. "We
will also have a lobbying office to represent this case, because we
believe no government - not only Turkey - no government has the right
to come to this country and beat up U.S. citizens and get away with

A day after the brawl, VOA posted additional footage
) of moments
leading up to the fight, during which President Erdogan - arriving at
the residence after White House meetings - is seen talking with
members of his armed security detail just before they break through a
police line and violently charge the protesters. Moments later,
Erdogan is seen looking on as the attack unfolds.

Strained relations

Turkish supporters claim they were provoked by protesters whom, they
allege, support the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), which Erdogan's
government considers a terrorist group for its links to the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK, with affiliates based in Turkey and
Iraq, has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and
European Union.

Ties between Washington and Ankara have been strained in recent years
by American airpower support for YPG fighters battling Islamic State
militants in northern Syria.

American lawmakers swiftly issued bipartisan outcry
) over the melee, which was
followed by repeated expressions of concern
) by top State Department
officials, who summoned Turkey's ambassador over the incident.

'Ongoing investigation'

"There is an ongoing investigation," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
told Fox News Sunday, adding that he will wait on the outcome of that
probe before deciding on a more formal response.

Globally, however, Usoyan says the absence of a formal White House
response makes the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump look

"In this case, the video went viral around the world," Usoyan said. "I
was talking to my family and relatives last night, and everyone takes
this as a (sign of the) weakness of our current government. I do
believe President Trump should shed a spotlight to this case and
address this issue so it doesn't spotlight him as weak towards

FILE - President Donald Trump meets with Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington,
May 16, 2017.

Police behavior questioned

On Monday, Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador to Ankara to protest
what it called the "aggressive" treatment of Turkish security, calling
behavior of Washington Metropolitan police officers who attempted to
break up the fight - sometimes with batons - "aggressive and

The Trump administration has vowed to arm YPG fighters as part of a
campaign to take Islamic State's Syrian stronghold in Raqqa.

Erdogan and Trump are expected to meet again at this week's NATO
summit in Brussels.

This report originated in VOA's Armenian Service


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If we, the United States, were to do anything in Syria it should be done with the invitation of the Syrian People through their government.

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Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
May 26, 2017 Friday

'Expel Turkey's Ambassador, ban Erdogan from visiting USA' – American
Congressmen furious over Washington protest attack by Turkish security

YEREVAN, MAY 26, ARMENPRESS. ‘People like you don’t have anything to
do in the US any longer, you are not representing your people’ – these
were the words addressed to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
used by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher when he opened the Congress
hearings on the recent Washington D.C. attack on demonstrators.

US lawmakers discussed the brutal attack on protesters outside the
Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16 in Washington, when,
according to Congressmen, ‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards attacked
peaceful American protesters’.

“We don’t want to speak with a man who is trying to create Islamic
fascism in his own country, and become the main fascist. He is the
enemy of everything that we stand for, moreover, he is the enemy of
his own people’, Dana Rohrabacher said. He Congressman’s call was loud
and clear – Erdogan must never be invited to the US any more.

The Congressmen emphasized that Turkish security personnel violated
the constitutional rights of the American people on American soil, at
the order of Erdogan.

Congressman Brad Sherman said the incident was an attack on US
sovereignty. “We shouldn’t even discuss Turkey’s issues with him until
we receive an official apology from personally Erdogan”, Sherman said.

The Turkish Embassy in US had previously said that the Turkish
security agents were forced to interfere in order to protect Erdogan’s
security. Responding to this statement, Congressman Sherman said the
Ambassador’s statement is a lie, because footage clearly shows that
Erdogan was not threatened whatsoever by the 10 protesters who had
gathered far away.

“The Ambassador’s statement is a lie and he is trying to cover up the
physical aggression. He must be expelled from our country
immediately”, the Congressman said.

Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee
of America (ANCA), also testified, and said that the attack happened
surprisingly, seemingly upon an order.

“When the police were ordering them to stop, they simply ignored this
order, something I’ve never seen in America”, he said.

Congressmen said the US response must be harsh and definite.

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Toronto Star, Canada
May 26 2017
Toronto men involved in violent clash at Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington

Alpkenan Dereci said he and other Erdogan supporters were the “real victims,” though they were seen striking protesters.

Alpkenan Dereci, in the yellow T-shirt, is seen holding back Ahmet Dereci, who is shouting at a Washington, D.C. police officer during a protest last week. The two Toronto men are supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Voice of America news video)
By Daniel DaleWashington Bureau
Fri., May 26, 2017

WASHINGTON—At least two Toronto men were involved in a violent confrontation in Washington, D.C. last week that was described by the local police chief as a “brutal attack on peaceful protesters.”

Toronto residents Alpkenan Dereci and Ahmet Dereci, enthusiastic supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are seen on video joining Erdogan’s security team in striking protesters near the residence of Turkey’s U.S. ambassador.

Videos published by the New York Times and other media show that Alpkenan Dereci punched and shoved a protester. They show that the man identified by the Times as Ahmet Dereci punched a protester and then kicked him twice when he was lying defenceless on the ground.

The Derecis have not been arrested or charged with any offence. Alpkenan Dereci told a Turkish news agency that they were victims of assault, not perpetrators.

Alpkenan Dereci was also on the receiving end of violence during the melee; videos show he was struck in the face by a bullhorn tossed at him after he landed a punch near the head of a protester. His face and shirt were bloodied, and he told a Turkish news agency that he required 17 stitches.

Article Continued Below

People on the pro-Erdogan side were the “real victims” and were “openly assaulted,” Alpkenan Dereci said in a video published by the Andalou Agency. The media, he said, had failed to show that Erdogan’s supporters were themselves attacked.

“We cannot understand this,” he said.

The melee quickly turned into an international incident. Critics and even supporters of President Donald Trump, who had met with Erdogan earlier in the day, have demanded a forceful diplomatic response from his administration.

A spokesperson for the Washington police said Friday that “the investigation remains active.” The probe is being conducted by the police, the State Department and Secret Service.

Though Erdogan’s security team committed much of the violence, the civilians not employed by his government are more vulnerable to legal consequences: Erdogan bodyguards are likely protected by diplomatic immunity.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the confrontation a “violent attack on a peaceful demonstration.” Republican Sen. John McCain said there is “no excuse for this kind of thuggish behaviour” and called for the expulsion of the Turkish ambassador. A bipartisan group of senators called on the State Department to revoke the ambassador’s credentials if Turkey did not waive immunity for the people involved.

The Turkish government, meanwhile, summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about the actions of Washington police officers.

Turkey said its side acted in “self-defence,” but multiple videos contradict this claim at least in part. They show Erdogan’s security team pushing past police officers to punch, kick and, in one case, choke protesters who were not posing a threat.

The Derecis were described by the Times as cousins; the Star could not confirm this. They are highly visible in videos of the clash on account of their T-shirts: Alpkenan in yellow and Ahmet in purple. At one point, Alpkenan, his face and shirt bloody, holds back Ahmet, who is shouting at a police officer.

Two people were arrested at the scene, one for aggravated assault and one for assault on a police officer. At least 10 people were injured.

Alpkenan Dereci could not be reached for comment through Facebook and Twitter. Ahmet Dereci, whose Facebook and LinkedIn pages say he owns an electrical contracting company in North York, declined to respond to a request for comment.

“I don’t believe he’s able to talk, or he’s not going to return any calls or emails at the moment,” said a man who answered the phone at the company.

The Derecis are vocal supporters of Erdogan on their Facebook pages and in Toronto, where they have attended pro-Erdogan events. The Turkish media reported that they were part of a group that travelled from Canada to greet Erdogan in Washington; Alpkenan Dereci said he had previously travelled to Cuba for an Erdogan trip there.

“We love him very much and we would like to visit him and talk to him during his visits,” he said.

The Washington incident occurred after Erdogan met with Trump at the White House. Erdogan, who has been criticized in Turkey and abroad for his crackdown on dissenters at home, was sitting in his car in front of the residence when his security team began chasing after the protesters standing across the street.


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Agos, Istanbul
May 25 2017
Turkey business forum cancelled due to security detail attack
05.25.2017 NEWS

LA Chamber of Commerce announced that Turkey business forum is cancelled.

Scheduled on May 25, the event is cancelled in response to the objection by Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Krekorian after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s home on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.

The chamber forum was planned to be cosponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of International Trade and a roundtable meeting was planned to be held with the participation of executives and board members from 12 Turkish companies in the construction, engineering, aerospace, textiles, manufacturing, and financial sectors. On May 22, LA CLA Chamber of Commerce made a statement concerning the cancellation and noted: “This decision was made because we determined that holding the meeting would not be in the best interests of our members or the visiting delegation from Turkey.”

Kerkorian, the first Armenian American elected to the city council, stated: “I thank the L.A. Chamber for being responsive to my request and cancelling the Los Angeles Turkey Business Forum. The unprovoked attack by Turkish state security officers on peaceful American citizens was reprehensible and a grave breach of our country’s laws. That the business community in our great city recognizes that human rights must be upheld by all within our borders is a credit to their vision and conscience.”


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STRASBOURG, France (BBC)—Europe’s top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has launched an investigation into alleged corruption at the council involving Azerbaijan.

The criticisms concern some members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), accused of doing favors for Azerbaijan.

The oil-rich ex-Soviet state has cracked down on political dissidents.

There are suspicions that Azerbaijan influenced PACE’s rejection of a report on Azeri political prisoners in 2013.

Azerbaijan is among the 47 member nations of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe.

The council – not part of the EU – monitors compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, and judges in Strasbourg enforce it.

In January 2013 PACE rejected a report by German Social Democrat MP Christoph Strässer, which deplored human rights abuses in Azerbaijan and urged the authorities there to release political prisoners.

The Azeri government denies that charges against opposition activists are politically motivated.

Opponents of President Ilham Aliyev have been jailed on various charges, including tax evasion, spying and weapons possession.

Top judges

Three top international human rights lawyers will investigate the PACE corruption allegations and will report their findings by the end of 2017. They can recommend action against any PACE members implicated in corruption.

The investigators are:

Sir Nicholas Bratza from the UK, a former president of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
Jean-Louis Bruguière, a top anti-terrorism judge from France
Elisabet Fura, a Swedish former judge at the ECHR

PACE elects the judges at the ECHR, whose human rights rulings are binding on Council of Europe states.

As part of the inquiry, PACE plans to revise its code of conduct.

An investigation published in December by the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a human rights think-tank, alleged that some parliamentarians in PACE had engaged in political lobbying for Azerbaijan. There were claims that some received Azeri payments.

Azerbaijan bans online insults to leader

In March a top Council of Europe official, Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, wrote to PACE President Pedro Agramunt, urging him “to establish an independent external investigation body without any further delay.”

A large group of European MPs in PACE made a similar plea in January. They said PACE’s integrity was threatened by “recent, serious and credible allegations of grave misconduct” by some fellow MPs.

Civil society groups in Europe sent an open letter to PACE in April, saying an independent investigation must “shed light on hidden practices that favor corruption.”

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Title: Turkey: Erdogan's Goon Squad Comes to Washington

Turkey: Erdogan's Goon Squad Comes to Washington
by Burak Bekdil

May 28, 2017 at 4:00 am

According to the official narrative, U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting in Washington the leader of a long-friendly country and historic ally. In typical diplomatic niceties, Trump mentioned Turkey's role as a pillar in the Cold War against Soviet expansion, and Turkey's legendary courage in fighting alongside American soldiers in the Korean War in the 1950s. Trump also said, speaking of the present, that he looks forward to "working together with President Erdogan on achieving peace and security in the Middle East, on confronting the shared threats, and on working toward a future of dignity and safety for all of our people." Facts on the ground, however, are frequently less pleasant than Kodak-moment niceties.

The fundamental incompatibility between Trump and Erdogan was too apparent from the beginning of what looks like a largely transactional, pragmatic but problematic relationship. Erdogan's political ideology is deep-rooted in an often-aggressive blend of Sunni Islamist supremacy and neo-Ottoman, Turkish nationalism. Erdogan, disregarding Saudi Arabia and other possible contenders for the title, claims to be the protector of Sunni Muslims across the Middle East, and does not hide his ideological kinship with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, of which Trump is not a great admirer. In contrast, Trump hit out at Muslims during his campaign and proposed both a "Muslim travel ban" and a "Muslim registry". It was only too predictable: in response, Erdogan, in June 2016, called for Trump's name to be stripped from the Trump Towers in Istanbul.

Erdogan's Washington, DC visit, apart from Trump and Erdogan agreeing to disagree on more essential issues, will be remembered as a Turkish excess, with scenes of the bloodied faces of peaceful protestors beaten up by Erdogan's bodyguards in front of the Turkish ambassador's residence. Although these unpleasant incidents caused an uproar in America, such brutality should have come as no surprise.

Slightly over a year ago, Erdogan and his team were in America on another visit, with the Turkish president scheduled to speak at the Brookings Institution. His security guards harassed and physically assaulted journalists trying to cover the event; they also forcibly attempted to remove several journalists, although they were on the guest list. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Brookings staff prevented them from ejecting the reporters. One Turkish journalist was removed from the building while checking in. But that was not the entire show. An American reporter attempting to film the harassment was kicked in the chest. The National Press Club was outraged. "We have increasingly seen disrespect for basic human rights and press freedom in Turkey," said the president of the Club, Thomas Burr. "Erdogan doesn't get to export such abuse".

Shortly before that, in February 2016, Erdogan had embarked on a Latin America trip. During his speech at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (National Higher Studies Institute) in Ecuador's capital, Quito, a group of women began shouting "Fuera Ecuador Erdogan" ("Get out of Ecuador, Erdogan") and "Asesino" ("Murderer"). About a minute later, Erdogan's bodyguards brutally attacked and forcefully removed them from the room: they punched the protesters in their heads and breasts. As the women were removed from the room, Erdogan said: "As we see now, there are sometimes disrespectful characters as well. Appropriate responses will always be taken to handle these disrespectful people".


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo by Justin Tallis - Pool/Getty Images)

The embassy violence, however, and the savagery of Erdogan's Turkish enforcers, whom many observers in Washington viewed as thugs, reflects a new dimension in carrying his message to any potential leader who may host him. CNN's Marc Randazza, after mentioning video footage showing Erdogan speaking to the black-suited agents before they rushed the protesters, said, "It was brutal -- with the agents punching protesters and kicking them while they were on the ground.... The word outrage," he wrote, "does not come close to describing this incident". The bloody clash sent nine people to the hospital. The White House remained silent, but the Turkish ambassador was summoned to the State Department, which "raised its concerns about these events..." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration's "dismay" had been expressed to the Turkish government.

Arizona Senator John McCain and California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote to Erdogan that "the actions of your staff violate the constitutional protections of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly enjoyed by all Americans." McCain even suggested:

"We should throw their ambassador the hell out... This is the United States of America. This isn't Turkey; this isn't a third-world country; and this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically".

Instead, the Turks added insult to injury. The Turkish Foreign Ministry on May 22 summoned U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass over the incident to give him a verbal and written protest. But what could Turkey be protesting after its president's bodyguards attacked a defenseless, small bunch of peaceful protesters? Read the Turkish ministry's statement about the protest: "... due to the aggressive and unproffessional [sic] actions taken, contrary to diplomatic rules and practices, by US security personnel towards the close protection team..." Turkey probably was protesting the United States not giving President Erdogan's men a license to kill.

The second "Turkish circus" in Washington in a span of about a year must have demonstrated to the free world the kind of oppression that any kind of dissent may earn protesters in Turkey. There is one difference, though. The peaceful protesters in Washington, mostly Kurds, were merely beaten up by Erdogan's bodyguards. Similar protests in Turkey usually end up with brutal police beatings -- followed by arrest and prosecution, often on charges of "terrorism".

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey's leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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I highly doubt that Turkey's free pass has ended, it's just a silly game they are playing time will tell one way or another we'll see!

Armenian Weekly

June 7 2017
Turkish MFA Criticizes Passage of H.Res.354; ANCA Says Ankara’s ‘Free Pass’ in D.C. Has Been Revoked

By Weekly Staff on June 7, 2017 in Headline, New, News // 0 Comments // http://armenianweekly.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-email/images/email_famfamfam.png // http://armenianweekly.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-print/images/printer_famfamfam.gif

ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ambassador Hüseyin Müftüoğlu criticized the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of H.Res.354 on June 6, which condemns the May 16 attack by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards against peaceful protesters in Washington D.C. The spokesperson’s comments came on June 7 in response to a question regarding the resolution.


(L to R) Hüseyin Müftüoğlu and Aram Hamparian

“The steps taken by the U.S. legislative branches to distort and politicize the matter are not constructive,” said the spokesperson, who added that the resolution was against the “spirit of alliance and partnership” between Turkey and the U.S.

“Erdogan’s claiming that Congressional condemnation of the attack he ordered on American protesters runs counter to the spirit of Turkey’s alliance with the U.S.—but what he’s really voicing is his frustration that the free pass that Ankara has long enjoyed here in Washington has been revoked,” Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian said in his comments to the Armenian Weekly.

“As much as he might like a resurrect Ankara’s old arrangements, its clear today that U.S. policy-makers—from both parties and in both the legislative and executive branches—won’t countenance a return to the days when Turkey crossed every line, confident that America would remain silent about its sins,” Hamparian added.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.Res.354 on June 6, which called for “”the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.” The resolution passed with a vote of 397 for and none against.

H.Res.354, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), was adopted unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 25. The measure had also received the public backing of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).




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Justice Turkish (erDOGan) style!

news.am, Armenia

June 7 2017
Chair of Amnesty International Turkey detained
11:58, 07.06.2017

Amnesty International's director in Turkey, Taner Kilic, was arrested on Tuesday along with 22 other lawyers. They have all been accused of links to the network of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Kilic was detained by police at his home in Izmir early on Tuesday before being taken to his office, Amnesty announced.



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Two Men Reportedly Arrested Over D.C. Attack on Peaceful Protesters



ANCA’s Hamparian: ‘Two Arrests Are a Good Start, but this is About Far More Than Crime Enforcement. It’s About Our U.S. Government Standing Up Against Foreign Attempts to Silence Dissent by American Citizens’

WASHINGTON (A.W.)— United States Marshals have arrested two Turkish men living in the U.S., for their role in beating peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16, according to a report by The Daily Caller.



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The source who provided the Daily Caller this information did not provide the names of the men arrested for their role in the attack. However, the Washington-based Turkish news outlet Washington Hatti reported that one man involved in the attack was detained in New Jersey.

According to the report, Eyup Yıldırım was arrested on the morning of on June 14.

The U.S. Marshal Service referred The Daily Caller to the Washington, D.C. Metro police department, which is currently investigating the case along with the State Department and Secret Service. The department did not respond to a request for comment about the arrests, according to The Daily Caller.

Yıldırım was identified as the man in the videos kicking a female protester Lucy Usoyan, while she was on the ground. Usoyan, a Kurdish activist, was kicked and stomped by Yıldırım and other Erdogan supporters. She was rushed to the hospital following the incident, where she was diagnosed with a head trauma.

“We remain deeply troubled—nearly a month after this unprovoked assault by a foreign government on peaceful U.S. protesters—over the lack of criminal charges against Erdogan’s security detail and the failure of the Trump Administration to demand that Ankara waive its claims to immunity for all those involved in this assault on our American freedoms,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian in a brief statement.

“These two arrests are a good start, but this is about far more than crime enforcement. It’s about our U.S. government standing up against foreign attempts to silence dissent by American citizens. In light of the major media attention devoted to this outrage and given the intense Congressional concern about its consequences – it is unacceptable that the White House and State Department have demonstrated such weakness, adopting, basically, a business-as-usual approach in the face of a brazen, angry, and arrogant foreign attack on peaceful protesters on American soil,’ Hamparian added.

Yıldırım, who is reported to be the owner of a construction company, was part of a group of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who showed up at the Turkish Embassy and attacked the peaceful demonstrators across the street. The attackers, including men from Erdogan’s security detail who were armed, were seen punching, kicking, and stomping on the protesters.

At least 11 people were injured while Erdogan watched the attack take place from his chauffeured vehicle, which was parked outside the embassy. Video recordings show that he may have ordered his bodyguards to initiate the assault.

The incident generated outrage from lawmakers both from the Republican and Democratic parties, while the Turkish government blamed the U.S. government and the Washington, D.C. police. Last week, the House unanimously passed a bill condemning the Turkish government over the incident.

Despite the arrest of Yıldırım and second individual, it will be difficult to arrest and punish some of the men from Erdogan’s security detail, who are likely protected by diplomatic immunity.

Certain lawmakers have already called for the removal of the Turkish Ambassador and have called on the State Department to halt a planned sale of $1.6 million worth of firearms to Turkey.

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The New York Times Nick Fandos now reporting that a dozen of Erdogan's security detail are set to be charged Thursday for their May 16th assault on peaceful protesters in DC.

The ANCA's Aram Suren Hamparian offered this comment to the welcome news. “American law enforcement is doing its job. Now it’s time for the Trump Administration to demand that Turkey lift all claims to diplomatic immunity for those involved in this crime so that justice can be served."


WASHINGTON — Law enforcement officials plan to announce charges Thursday against a dozen members of the Turkish president’s security detail for their involvement in a brutal attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence here last month, two American officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities have already charged several others, including two Americans and two Canadians, with taking part in the violent skirmish.

The Washington police have been investigating the May 16 incident along with the State Department and the Secret Service. The police planned to announce the charges at a news conference on Thursday morning, according to the two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the charges before they were made public.

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Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill, as well as a smattering of advocacy groups, have clamored that those responsible for the assault be prosecuted. Last week, the House unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attack and calling for charges against the security forces.

One of those lawmakers, Representative Edward R. Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed news of the charges, urging the State Department on Wednesday to “double down” its efforts to “bring these individuals to justice.”

In calibrating its response, though, the Trump administration has had to tread carefully, navigating a web of diplomatic and military concerns with a key NATO ally. The incident appears to have already stalled a proposed $1.2 million small-arms sale to Turkish security forces that was moving toward approval by the State Department last month.


And then there was the added wrinkle that the entire security detail for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had left the country with him just hours after the incident. Members of the security team face several felony and misdemeanor counts, the American officials said.

It is highly unlikely that Turkey would extradite the men to the United States to face the charges, but they do face the possibility of arrest should they ever try to re-enter the country.

The State Department said in a statement on Wednesday that it would weigh additional action against those who have been charged, “as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations.”

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“Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges,” the department said.

The Turkish Embassy here did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement in the days after the incident, the embassy said that anti-Erdogan protesters had caused the violence by “aggressively provoking” Turkish-American citizens who had gathered to greet the president and who responded in self-defense. The statement did not mention the security forces.

The run-in was not the first time Mr. Erdogan’s bodyguards have become violent while visiting the United States. In 2011, they took part in a fight at the United Nations that sent at least one security officer to the hospital. And last year, the police and members of Mr. Erdogan’s security team clashed with demonstrators outside the Brookings Institution in Washington.

But the latest case, which played out in broad daylight along Washington’s genteel Embassy Row, has brought a much higher level of attention. Videos streamed live from the scene (and later spread across social media) showed armed guards storming a small group of peaceful, anti-Erdogan protesters in plain sight of federal and local law enforcement officers.

A chaotic and bloody scene followed in which the guards, the protesters, pro-Erdogan civilians and American law enforcement tangled on the street and in a nearby park. Nine people were eventually hospitalized, some with serious injuries.

The New York Times, after analyzing videos and photos from the scene, identified at least 24 men, including armed Turkish security forces, who had attacked protesters. Another video shows Mr. Erdogan watching the attack play out from a Mercedes-Benz sedan parked a few yards away. His role in the clash, if any, is unclear.

Diplomatic security officers protecting the delegation also temporarily detained two members of the Turkish forces who had assaulted them, before it was determined that the guards had diplomatic status and were freed.

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