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Turkey demands United States replace envoy in spat over Syrian Kurds

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Eleena Tovar | 20 May, 2017, 02:45

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after speaking to the press in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on May 16, 2017.

"Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest", the statement read. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for the Turkish ambassador to be kicked out of the U.S. The statement said that the USA communicated its concerns to the Turkish government "in the strongest possible terms".

The protesters "began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President", the embassy said in a statement released late Wednesday.

Nine people were taken to local hospitals for their injuries, and two people were arrested. Multiple men repeatedly kick one man on the ground as Washington police try to pull off the attackers.

The U.S. announced last week that it would arm Kurdish fighters in Syria, a move Erdogan is against because he says they are linked to the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK.

The U.S. State Department has summoned Turkish Ambassador in Washington Serdar Kılıç on May 17 over a street brawl outside the Turkish diplomatic mission that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit, sources have told the Hürriyet Daily News.

A violent confrontation Tuesday evening outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Northwest Washington resulted in 11 people being injured.

"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense", the statement said. "What we saw yesterday - a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration - is an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans", said D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D). "There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior", McCain said on his Twitter account.

Two men were arrested at the scene, and police intend to pursue charges against others involved, the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday. "This is the United States of America".

President Donald Trump walks Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his vehicle following his visit to the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Erdogan then gets out of the auto, and starts to watch how his security detail beats the protesters, while the first bodyguard returns to him, as if briefing on the happening.

Turkey's foreign minister says the country will continue to fight Syrian Kurdish militants, and he has relayed this position to the United States, which considers them a key ally against the Islamic State group.