As news of the Trump Administration's implosion circulates, tensions in Washington D.C. continue to escalate as demonstrators protesting against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faced a series of violent assaults. Now, CNN reports that some of the culprits behind the assaults were actually Turkish security officials.
The US State Department said it is "concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel."
"Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest," a statement reads. "We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms."
The Turkish embassy's take on the situation is quite different: they're claiming that demonstrators were "affiliated with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)" and that they "began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President."
"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense," said a statement from the Turkish embassy. "We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur."
Nine people were hospitalized after the encounter.
"We intend to ensure accountability of anybody involved," said DC police chief Peter Newsham of the situation.
The incident poses a series of uncomfortable international relations issues for the current administration, who seem to be increasingly cozying up to Erdoğan despite (or because of) his authoritarian policies.
"What we saw yesterday -- a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration -- is an affront to DC values and our rights as Americans. I strongly condemn these actions and have been briefed by Chief Newsham on our response. The Metropolitan Police Department will continue investigating the incident and will work with federal partners to ensure justice is served," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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