About two dozen demonstrators showed up outside of embassy hours after Erdogan met with Trump
"We are protesting (Erdogan's) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq," said Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland
Nine people were injured during a protest outside of the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington, DC on Tuesday, according to the official Twitter account of Washington, DC fire and EMS department.
About two dozen demonstrators showed up outside of the embassy just hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.
“We are protesting (Erdogan’s) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq,” said Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland.
Arthur accused Erdogan supporters of breaching police lines and attacking protesters on at least three separate occasions.
A Facebook video captured at the scene shows several protesters covered in blood.
“They think they can engage in the same sort of suppression of protest and free speech that they engage in in Turkey,” Arthur said. “They stopped us for a few minutes … but we still stayed and continued to protest Erdogan’s tyrannical regime.”
The victims were transported to George Washington University Hospital.
The incident came as Trump extended a warm welcome to Erdogan, an authoritarian-style leader who had a strained relationship with the previous US administration.
“We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,” Trump said in the Oval Office as he sat beside Erdogan. “We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions.”
Despite Trump’s greeting to the Turkish leader, the relationship has been strained by the United States’ refusal to extradite a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, whom Erdogan blames for orchestrating a July coup attempt against him.
And the two countries are at odds over Trump’s decision to arm Kurdish militias that are helping in the fight to rout ISIS from its Syrian stronghold in Raqqa. Turkey sees these militias as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist group in the United States, Turkey and Europe.
Turkey, a NATO member, is a vital ally in the fight against ISIS, allowing the United States to use its Incirlik air base in the fight against the terror group.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote Trump on Tuesday, asking him to raise the issue of human rights with Erdogan given the increasing suppression of dissent in his country. They cited the weakening of democratic institutions, stifling of fundamental human rights, mass arrests and civil society restrictions that have been taking place even before a constitutional referendum in April gave Erdogan increased powers and extended his time in office.
But in the meeting, Trump didn’t appear to touch on any of the disagreements, and instead praised Turkey’s efforts in the war against ISIS and for its fight against internal terrorist attacks. He stressed that the United States would “offer our support to Turkey” in its fight against terrorism and that they would “reinvigorate our trade and commercial ties.”
“These are areas where we can rebuild our relationship,” Trump said.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis also met with Turkish Minister of Defense Fikri Işık today at the White House.
CNN’s Paul P. Murphy contributed reporting.