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Erdogan: Turkey will not take part in Raqqa offensive

19 May, 2017, 18:27 | Author: Mae Harvey

Erdogan's speech on Thursday was his first public speech since returning from a trip to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington. During his visit to the Turkish embassy residence in Washington DC after the meeting, his supporters clashed with another group who gathered outside the embassy building in order to protest Erdoğan's policies in Turkey.

The U.S. State Department said the episode was "deeply disturbing" and promised that an investigation would hold those responsible to account.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose name Donald Trump doesn't know how to pronounce, met with POTUS in Washington on Tuesday, presumably to swap stories about their mutual friend Michael Flynn. Instead, Erdogan's guards were released under a globally recognized custom under which nations don't arrest or detain visiting heads of state and members of their delegations, said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

Citing a cross-border offensive Turkey launched against IS and the YPG in Syria a year ago, Erdogan said "we won't hesitate to launch similar operations if we see the need".

The video also shows the attackers kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk, wrenching another woman's neck and throwing her to the ground and kicking the face of a man carrying a bullhorn. The incident left 11 people injured, nine of whom were hospitalized.

A Voice of America video showed police officers struggling to protect the protesters and ordering the men in suits to retreat.

For their part, the Turkish Embassy blamed the violence on the protesters, the AP reported.

"We said we would not be in such an operation with you where you ally with terror organizations and so we said good luck", Erdogan said.

The office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released a statement Thursday afternoon condemning the violence and used the incident to swipe at Trump: "The unprovoked, vicious attack on peaceful protestors by Turkish security agents was appalling and a graphic reminder of how political dissent in Turkey is routinely crushed with impunity". "We will take such a step and we won't discuss it or consult with anyone". The descent of Turkey into a strongman state is discouraging, and there's no sign that it's going to turn around any time soon.

The Trump Administration hasn't responded to the demand for an ouster, but McGurk's position appears in-line with the rest of the administration on arming the Kurdish YPG and using them against ISIS.

The US State Department slammed the violence in a statement as inappropriate, saying the rights of people to freedom of speech and peaceful protest should be respected.

This is a ticklish global situation that will put Mr. Trump's diplomatic skills to the test. Turkey has been a valuable ally in the ongoing fight against Muslim terrorists.

"We respect those concerns, and continue regular consultations with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally on this and other topics of mutual importance", Nauert said.

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