Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. has expressed its “dismay” to Turkish officials about last week’s clash in which Turkish security personnel apparently attacked demonstrators in Washington.
Tillerson told Fox News Sunday that Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S. has been told that last Tuesday’s violence was “simply unacceptable.”
“There is an ongoing investigation,” he said, adding that he will wait on the outcome of that probe before deciding on a more formal response.
The clash broke out between Turkish security personnel and protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington.
Protesters say they were attacked by Turkish security forces as they demonstrated peacefully. Turkey blamed the clash on the demonstrators, claiming they aggressively provoked people who had gathered to see Erdogan.
VOA’s Turkish service recorded images at the scene that indicated the Turkish security detail suddenly turned on the demonstrators, knocking them to the ground and kicking them until American police pushed the Turks away. The video showed Erdogan standing beside his limousine, watching the brawl.
U.S. officials briefly detained two members of Erdogan’s security detail, but they were soon released, under customary diplomatic protocols granting immunity to aides accompanying a visiting dignitary.
Some U.S. lawmakers have demanded the United States take stronger action, including Republican Senator John McCain, who called for the Turkish ambassador to be expelled.