Breaking: Pro-Erdogan Group Attacks Peaceful Protesters in D.C. (Updated)

WASHINGTON (A.W.)—On May 16, a group of peaceful demonstrators protesting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s official visit to the United States, were attacked by pro-Erdogan groups—including members of Erdogan’s security team—at the Sheridan Circle near the residence of the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S.

Scenes from the aftermath of the attack (Photos: Screenshots of the ANCA live stream/Facebook)

According to several sources, nine people were taken to the hospital and two others were arrested after the violent confrontation.

“[This was] the type of violence you would never expect to see in America’s capital. It was the type of violence you’d expect to see in Erdogan’s Turkey and in other dictatorships,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian, who captured parts of the attack and streamed the aftermath live on the ANCA’s Facebook page. “This is the very type of intolerance that has come to predominate in Turkey and it has now been exported here,” he added.

The demonstration, which began at Lafayette Square at noon, was organized by a coalition of organizations, including the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the American Hellenic Council. Several different groups, which included representatives from the Armenian, Greek, Kurdish, Yezidi, and Assyrian communities, participated in the protest, while President Erdogan met with U.S. President Donald Trump a the White House.

The U.S. State Department is working with D.C. police and the U.S. Secret Service to identify Erdogan’s security personnel who were involved in the incident. “We will continue to work with our partners at the United States State Department and United States Secret Service to identify and hold all subjects accountable for their involvement in the altercation,” read a statement from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

“I saw a group of peaceful protesters in Sheridan Circle—a grassy area across from the Turkish Ambassador’s residence—who were protesting and exercising their constitutional right to speak their minds, to hold signs, to share their opinions, and express their views get rushed from across the street by a group of a pro-Erdogan [demonstrators], who broke through the police lines and attacked literally anybody within their reach with their fists and anything else they could get a hold of,” Hamparian said in the live video moments after the attack. Hamparian went on to explain that the crowd of Erdogan supporters beat as many people as they could and that many were bloodied and had to be taken to the hospital.

Below is video footage of the incident, provided by the Baltimore Bloc.

“This is exactly the type of violence you see in Ankara and they are exporting it here. It’s one thing for the Turkish government to do that to its own citizens—[which is] a terrible thing. It is another thing for us, as Americans, to see that exported to the United States,” Hamparian said.

On May 17, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued the following statement regarding the violent confrontation:

“What we saw yesterday—a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration—is an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans. I strongly condemn these actions and have been briefed by Chief Newsham on our response. The Metropolitan Police Department will continue investigating the incident and will work with federal partners to ensure justice is served.”

Below is close-up video footage of the attack provided by Voice of America.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham called the incident “brutal attack on peaceful protesters,” during a press conference on May 17.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power also condemned the attack in a Tweet hours after the incident. “Clearly Erdogan’s guards feel complete impunity, drawing on tools of repression they use at home  and knowing he has their back, no matter what,” Power tweeted.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power also condemned the attack in a Tweet hours after the incident. (photo: Twitter)

The Armenian Weekly will be following this story and provide updates as they become available.


32 Comments on Breaking: Pro-Erdogan Group Attacks Peaceful Protesters in D.C. (Updated)

  1. avatar Marjorie Nanian // May 16, 2017 at 6:11 pm // Reply

    And this is our NATO partner?!

  2. Thank you Aram for the reporting!

  3. avatar Tatul Sonentz-Papazian // May 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm // Reply

    Bearing in mind the kind of company the present US administration keeps, no one should be surprised by the brutality of its results. When all moral tenets are set aside to protect the interests of a predatory establishment, the very foundations of a civilized world are threatened…

  4. You have to wonder if the DC cops and Secret Service deliberately let this happen.

    Were the pro-Turks arrested? If not, why not?

    • as a matter of fact, a similar incident took place several years ago in Washington when Obama was president. Moreover, in the first few years of his presidency, Obama was very close to Erdung. They were said to speak over the phone every week and were considered BFFs. Besides, before his 2008 election obama promised to recognize the Armenian genocide. That was another one of his broken promises.
      So I don’t see where Trump is any worse than Obama in regard to Armenian issues and many others.

  5. Were any arrested? Makes me angry that this happened and any Dirtogan supporter who was arrested should serve some time in jail. If they are visitors from Turkey they should be deported and not allowed back into America, after jail time.

    • avatar Diane D // May 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm //

      Except, you know, the White House condemned that attack.
      Also, if you think things haven’t gotten worse there in the past 9 years, please, do some research.

  6. avatar Helen Talia // May 16, 2017 at 8:02 pm // Reply

    This is what Trump welcomed into United States, an attack on Armenian-Americans by savage Turks……….!

  7. avatar J M Parker // May 17, 2017 at 12:07 am // Reply

    What were the police doing at the time: You say they broke through police lines. Did the police arrest the hooligans?

  8. I am deeply ashamed that so many ignorant idiots from my country act like savages, keep up the good work guys.

  9. I’m not Turkish or Armenian, but I have spent a considerable amount of time in Turkey. In Istanbul, I leased an apartment from an Armenian family who never saw me or treated me as a foreigner. Quite the opposite, I was always embraced as a member of the family. I wish I could say the same for those fanatics who hated foreigners, including people who were several generations of the same land but not Turk (or Muslim). But I digress.
    It does not surprise me Pro-Erdogan thugs took the opportunity to attack anyone opposing the “Ottoman Emperor”.
    More disappointing is the choice of an American political system that elected and embraced (or otherwise is silent to) an Idiot who praises the repressive “Ottoman Emperor” Ignorance leads to denial when the truth is told. Denial begets violence when that truth is proven. But I guess, judging from the lack of major US news sources reporting this atrocity, coupled with the sugar coated endorsement of our liar-in-chief, it only goes to reason that we revert back to an era when brutality such as this was tolerated to “keep them in their place”.

  10. avatar Laurence Kueffer // May 17, 2017 at 6:54 am // Reply

    The exhibit of injuries and abuse, perpetrated by Erdogan’s fascistic Turkish Thugs, casts a shadow from the SS and SA in Hitler’s Germany; however, the complete disinterest and lack of coverage by world media sources is even more disturbing; meanwhile, President Trump was kissing up to Erdogan and Turkey (behind closed doors), as the Turkish thugs were beating up Armenian Protestors.

    President Donald Trump’s broad smile is something that belongs in a wax museum of horror exhibits, because he is blissfully out of touch with the chaos beyond the closed doors. At some point, there might be a day of reckoning, when people with Armenian ancestry will hold him accountable, if the president detours into the path of repeatedly kissing up to Turkey and Azerbaijan. This I say, as one whom reluctantly voted for the spoiled billionaire whom now holds the Office of the President of the United States.

    Meanwhile, there is a media blackout, which ignores Turkish thuggery, and Trauma among Armenian Protestors, outside the Turkish Embassy. This wall of silence is a tool for Armenian Genocide Denial Practices. There should be a grass roots condemnation of the media, because it failed to hold watch over the incident.

  11. avatar Sandra Lalaian // May 17, 2017 at 7:31 am // Reply

    Great showing of Turkish bestiality in American soil I’m very sorry for all victims. Now: this Turkish in America has to be treated as a dangerous criminal gang: should be seized like all the Central American gang members persecuted an incarcerated last week in major states in USA by president Trump. KEEP THE. CLEAN UP!!!!!

  12. Turks will never change, even after 100 years. So sad:((

  13. And what were the valiant DC police doing during the attack?

  14. avatar Clifford Tindall // May 17, 2017 at 10:13 am // Reply

    Every one of those pro dictator supporters should be kicked out the country.

  15. Why is Erdogen here to begin with???? Americans being beaten by foreign body guards for no apparent reason, even being kicked in the head when already down???

  16. These were not just a “Pro-Erdogan Group”– they were Erdogan’s personal bodyguards. Don’t sugar-coat this; these are foreign nationals assaulting American citizens. They need to have their diplomatic privileges revoked, at the very least; and in a just world would see the inside of a US jail for their actions.

  17. And I guess in this “free” country this unprecedented incident will be on the air? Yeah, right…

  18. avatar Zryan Khatab // May 17, 2017 at 3:21 pm // Reply

    This is the Turkish real face. They will never be trusted because they are so racist for the Kurdish people and minorities in the area. They don’t want anybody else to live in that part of the world which is not really theirs because they originally came from the center of Asia as the Mongols kicked them out there. After that, they came to the Middle East and they took over the place where Turkey is placed now.

  19. This same thing happened last year at the Brookings Institute.

    This time, if you watch the video, you will see Turks kicking a man who is on the ground while a Black cop stands by and does nothing. The cop does not arrest the Turk.

    The cops and the DC mayor did a lousy job. There needs to be a complaint filed with the DC police and mayor for dereliction of duty.

    Let me restate: The DC cops and the mayor must take their share of blame and must now make arrests of the Turks, else we must conclude what we already know: they’re all corrupt.

  20. avatar Mike Mirakian // May 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm // Reply

    The TV networks reported that it was Kurdish Americans protesting — no mention of Armenians, Greeks, Yazidis, or Assyrians. More fake news? More coverup? How do these thugs break through a police line? Shame on the DC cops! Doesn’t our govt have an obligation to revoke the diplomatic immunity of those back suited Turkish bodyguards? Send them back immediately and never let them back here again!

  21. It was disturbing to see few DC police officers standing in front of the peaceful demonstration. Apparently, the officers were surprised to see Erdogan’s guards attacking on these peaceful demonstrators. Usually during these type of events, there is heavy police presence.

  22. Unbelievable!
    I am extremely interested to see if and what justice, America 2017, is going to serve.
    Watching this intently.

  23. I wonder what is to be honorable for Mr Trump about meeting a dictator shame to this country for letting this happen I watched the video our security did not do enough to protect innocent protesters

  24. Not to give in to total pessimism, the incident received balanced coverage here:

  25. Oh, no, no… How could America do anything in response to this Turkish hooliganism in the nation’s capital? After all, isn’t Turkey our “valuable ally”? Indeed…

  26. avatar Deborah Johnstone // May 19, 2017 at 11:39 am // Reply

    It’s sad too realize how far reaching the “Citizens United Funding” has corrupted our American politics! What happened at the Turkish embassy to the peaceful protesters should be enough to remove those thugs off of our soil. Obviously, beating up citizens,lying,stealing, cheating, killing and owning personal security and military too protect you from the citizens you’re harming is second nature for dictators.

  27. avatar eric denison // May 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm // Reply

    Trump said he would stick up to Muslims, but he is not sticking up to the Turks.

    another lying president.

  28. I have some good news, Texas has now become the 46th state to recognize the Armenian genocide!

    This means we have four more US states to go before we all the US has recognized the Armenian Genocide!

    Let’s get those other states to recognize it!

  29. Sorrow to America.Shame on us.

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