[UPDATE] Turkish Foreign Ministry lodges official complaint with US ambassador over violence in DC

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Ambassador of the United States to Turkey, John Bass speaks during the opening session of Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit 2017 at Swisshotel in Istanbul, Turkey on April 27, 2017.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned US Ambassador to Ankara John Bass to lodge a formal protest over what it claimed were “lapses of security” during a melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington that erupted when Turkish security personnel clashed with protesters during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the US capital last week, The Washington Post has reported.

The Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic note criticized “the inability of U.S. authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program,” demanding that the US conduct a “full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation.”

The incident occurred on Tuesday during protests surrounding the visit by Erdoğan.

The demonstrators were protesting the policies of Erdoğan, who was visiting Washington for a White House meeting with Donald Trump earlier in the day, and were countered by agitated supporters of the Turkish head of state.

Police intervened in the fighting between the two groups, while a video recording posted on social media the same day also revealed that Erdoğan’s guards were involved, physically attacking the protesters. Nine people were injured, with at least one of them in serious condition.

Another video of the violent confrontation on Tuesday, which took place on Embassy Row, showed that President Erdoğan watched from a car as his bodyguards assaulted peaceful protesters across the street.

The Turkish Embassy released a statement on Thursday claiming the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was responsible for the fracas, while the US State Department expressed concern about the “violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel” and summoned Ambassador Kılıç on Thursday to explain the incident. Turkish diplomats also criticized local DC police for failing to suppress an “unpermitted” and “provocative” demonstration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told “Fox News Sunday” the incident was “simply unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, members of the US Congress have expressed outrage at the violent treatment of the protesters by Turkish security personnel last week, among them Arizona Senator John McCain, who on Thursday urged the expulsion of Ambassador Kılıç, saying: “We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America. This is the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey; this isn’t a Third World country, and this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically,” in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding that legal action could also be pursued.

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