TURKEY

Erdogan Fans In Turkey Approved Of DC Brawl

Watching Kurdish protesters get pummeled gave many back in Turkey a lot of satisfaction

TURKEY
An image made by a Turkish Twitter user mocking wounded protesters. — Twitter/BesiktaskNihat
May 18, 2017 at 8:25 AM ET

For the second year in a row, people demonstrating against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his time in Washington DC were roughed up by his security detail. And yet again, his supporters back home in Turkey applauded.

Images of protesters bloodied by Erdogan’s bodyguards horrified people in the U.S. on Wednesday, but back in Turkey they gave many a great deal of satisfaction.

Erdogan was in the U.S. capital to meet with President Donald Trump, and stopped by the Turkish ambassador’s home where protesters carrying anti-Turkey and pro-Kurdish signs were waiting for him. Eyewitnesses filmed as members of Erdogan’s security detail charged and beat up several of the protesters while local police attempted to separate the two groups.

Turkey has been fighting a Kurdish insurgency in the south of the country for years considers the Kurdish separatist groups to be terrorist organizations. In the fight against the Islamic State, Erdogan has repeatedly targeted Kurdish positions in northern Syria to deter Kurdish expansion across the border into Turkey. In his remarks alongside Trump at the White House, Erdogan aired his anger at Washington’s increased military support of Kurdish rebels who are part of the anti-ISIS coalition in Syria and Iraq.

Police arrested two people involved in the violent brawl which left nine people hospitalized, but none of those detained were members of the Turkish security detail. The State Department released a statement on Wednesday condemning the incident, saying: “Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest.”

Turks back home took pride in the security detail’s behavior, using the hashtag #PKKyaOsmanlıTokadı, which means “Ottoman slap for the PKK.” The hashtag refers to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by NATO, the EU, and the United States. Over 33,000 tweets mentioned the hashtag, many of which said the protesters deserved to be beaten, and that Turkish users were “very satisfied watching the video.”

http://twitter.com/BircanBasak1453/status/864903726359826434

We don’t care about the location or timing. We gave them what they deserved. I am so happy that they punched them. I would sacrifice my life for my country!

http://twitter.com/1907_spring/status/864892895052124162

I swear I was very satisfied watching this video. They crushed them like insects.

We don’t care about the location. Every time we see those traitors, we will beat them up.

Kurds and their supporters were furious over the beatings and unhappy that none of Erdogan’s guards were held responsible. Their own hashtag, #ArrestErdogansBodyguards, appeared over 5,000 times on Twitter since the incident.

This isn’t the first time that Erdogan’s security detail used violence on American soil to suppress dissenting speech. In April 2016 the president’s bodyguards beat protesters outside the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. while Erdogan gave a speech inside, prompting the think tank to strongly condemn the behavior.