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US Lawmakers Condemn Turkish Embassy Attack

  • VOA News

Demonstrators lie on the ground following a brawl with Turkish security personnel near the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, May 17, 2017. (Screengrab from VOA Turkish video)

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California was one of many American lawmakers to condemn an attack on protesters outside the Turkish embassy last month.

"The message from Turkey is clear as day: We can do as we please, whether at home to our citizens or on your own American soil," he told the House floor Wednesday.

"Mr. Speaker, I stand here today to affirm that we will not allow Turkey to beat innocent protesters on the streets of our nation's capital. We will continue to pursue justice, and to make clear that America will always stand up for the right of peaceful and free expression," Schiff said.

FILE - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2017.
FILE - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill, March 7, 2017.

The previous evening, the U.S. House of Representatives moved to condemn the violence that unfolded following peaceful protests outside the Turkish embassy last month.

The two sides of supporters swapped allegations of what set off the melee.

VOA's Turkish Service said the protesters were Kurdish supporters of pro-Kurdish lawmaker Selahattin Demirtas who were calling for his release from prison. Police barricaded the perimeter to separate the groups.

The protesters said they were suddenly charged by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's guards and supporters. Similar clashes happened last year when Erdogan visited Washington for a nuclear security summit.

A day after the brawl, VOA posted additional footage of moments leading up to the fight during which Erdogan — arriving at the embassy after White House meetings — is seen talking with members of his armed security detail just before they break through a police line and violently charge the protesters. Moments later, Erdogan is seen looking on as the attack unfolds.