Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards have had a shocking altercation with protesters amid the Turkish leader’s visit to the US on Tuesday, resulting in 11 people being injured.
Caught on camera, video footage shows men in suits charging past police to kick and punch protesters.
Taking place outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC, police called the violence out as “brutal attack on peaceful protesters”, reports the BBC resulting in the arrest of two US residents Ayten Necmi, 49, and Jalal Kheirabadi, 42.
In response to the incident, the Turkish Embassy said demonstrators had been aggressively provoking the Turkish-Americans who had gathered to greet the president and that the response was self-defence.
Meanwhile, the US State Department confirmed the security guards’ involvement and in a statement said that it was “concerned by the violent incidents”.
“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.
“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
The incident followed Mr Erdogan’s meeting with President Donald Trump, and took place while he was visiting Turkish ambassador Serdar Kılıç’s residence.
“To send a clear message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated, I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States,” wrote House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behaviour.”
It’s not the first time Mr Erdogan’s security has had a run in with protesters in the United States. Just last year clashes were reported between protesters and the Turkish security personnel and in 2014 while in New York, Turkish security threatened and pushed journalists, reports Quartz.
Watch the footage here: