Shortly after Donald Trump tweeted “It was a great honor to welcome the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to the @WhiteHouse today!,” members of Erdoğan’s security staff, many of whom appear to have been armed, attacked a peaceful protest across from the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.
“We were only 13 people [plus two children] but we were Iranian, Kurdish, Armenian, Ezidi, American, man and woman, and we were basically there to protest Erdoğan and the Turkish state’s fascist policies,” said Pooyan Bahar, one of the protesters who describes himself as a human rights advocate. “And we were attacked by Erdoğan’s security guards who basically outnumbered us five to one and they brutally attacked us.”
Erdoğan’s government has been engaged in a violent suppression of the press and a purge of universities, the military, police, civil service, and political parties of opponents since a failed coup last July. But Turkey’s campaign against the minority of Kurds, some of which has been engaged in long separatist struggle with the Turkish state, has been particularly intense, drawing comparisons with some of the worst atrocities in Syria.
Earlier in the day, protesters, both for and against Erdoğan, had gathered in front of the White House where there was a small skirmish between the two sides.
Politics can be complicated for Kurds living in America. Some of the anti-Erdoğan protesters were there partly to show their support for Trump, who defied Erdoğan earlier this month when he agreed to directly arm the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) which is…
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