Turkey's US envoy slams anti-Erdogan protesters
Turkey's ambassador to Washington derided Monday last week's demonstration outside of his residence, calling it an "expression of solidarity with terrorism", Anadolu reported.
Speaking at the annual conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations, Serdar Kilic told attendees that it was "really disappointing to see the so-called flag of the PKK, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, on the streets of Washington, D.C.
"We do not take it as freedom of expression," he said. "It's an expression of solidarity with terrorism."
Violent clashes erupted last Wednesday outside of Kilic's residence as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived for previously scheduled meetings.
A group of anti-Turkey protesters clashed with some Turkish-Americans who had gathered outside the chancery to welcome Erdogan.
In response, Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the U.S. ambassador to Turkey in protest against the “aggressive and unprofessional actions” of American security personnel towards the foreign minister’s protection team.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was traveling with Erdogan at the time.
After the incident, the Turkish Embassy released a statement saying: "Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador’s Residence, while the President of Turkey was visiting the Residence.
"The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured. The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration. We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur."
Responding to the incident, State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon thanked Kilic for attempting to calm the situation at Sheridan Circle, but called the events that occurred last Wednesday "deplorable".
"During that incident, Americans saw lawful protesters attacked at Sheridan Circle," he said. "It is important to note that in the United States such protests are legal, protected and customary."
According to police, 11 people were injured Tuesday, including a police officer. Nine were hospitalized.
Shannon stressed that the U.S. position on the PKK was unchanged, and that Washington stands resolute with Turkey against the designated terror group.
"To the PKK we want to be perfectly clear: violence against innocent civilians is never justified, and the United States has been and always will be unequivocal in our strong condemnation of the PKK," he said