McCain: US should expel Turkey envoy over bodyguard violence


ISTANBUL (AP) - Turkey's leader told Donald Trump that his country will keep on fighting Syrian Kurdish militants even though they are a key USA ally against the Islamic State group, Turkey's foreign minister said Thursday, adding that a top US envoy should be fired for backing the Kurds. Senator John McCain, a Republican, urged the Trump administration to expel the Turkish ambassador over the incident.

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.

Tensions between Washington and Istanbul are running high after the Trump administration announced plans to arm Kurdish Syrian militants fighting the Islamic State group despite intense opposition from Turkey, which considers the Kurds as terrorists.

"This McGurk is definitely supporting the PKK and YPG. It would be beneficial if this person is changed", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV television.

John McCain (R - AZ) is demanding the U.S. throw Turkey's Ambassador "the hell out of the United States of America" after security working for Turkey's president attacked American protesters.

Asked what happened, one man bleeding profusely from a cut to his forehead said, "The Turks, the Turks, the Turks attacked us". "We call upon the Turkish government to apologize immediately for the involvement of any officials", said the statement.

Erdogan has insulted European Union nations like Germany and the Netherlands by comparing them with Nazis and has hinted that he is seeking to bring back the death penalty, which would doom Turkey's European Union membership aspirations.

"We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America ..."

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The State Department said Wednesday that "violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest".

"After all, they violated American laws in the United States of America, so you can not have that happen in the United States of America. This isn't Turkey. This isn't a third-world country, and this kind of thing can not go unresponded to diplomatically".

But the Turkish Embassy said the demonstrators were aggressively provoking Turkish-Americans who had gathered to greet the president, and they in turn responded in self-defence.

The video is filmed from behind a black Mercedes Benz occupied by Erdogan, who had just left a White House meeting with President Trump.

Turkey's displeasure at U.S. policy in the ISIS war, and particularly at their lack of hostility toward the region's Kurds, continues apace today, with Turkey demanding the United States fire Brett McGurk, the special ambassador in charge of the ISIS war, on the grounds that he is "pro-Kurd". While we're still learning details about what occurred, disturbing videos show members of Erdogan's security team turning on the protesters. A USA official said Thursday that wasn't the case.

Nine were hurt and two Kurdish protesters were arrested, police said on Wednesday.

Erdogan's bodyguards were involved in two other attacks on USA soil in 2016: during a speaking engagement at the Brookings Institute in April and at the funeral of Muhammad Ali in June.

"President Trump's embrace of Erdogan is another in the line of similarly warm embrace of autocrats around the globe", Schiff wrote on Facebook.