Senior U.S. lawmakers call to condemn Turkey after Washington street brawl

A Police officer pushes a man away from protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. lawmakers want the House of Representatives to formally condemn Turkish security forces’ violent response to a street protest in Washington during a recent visit by President Tayyip Erdogan, a congressional aide said on Wednesday.

The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and top Republican and Democratic House leaders are co-sponsoring a resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protesters and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

The measure introduced by Foreign Affairs Republican Chairman Ed Royce and ranking Democrat Eliot Engel, Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, also calls for measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The brawl that erupted on May 16 between protesters and Turkish security personnel outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during Erdogan’s visit to meet U.S. President Donald Trump has caused a diplomatic dispute between the two NATO allies.

At least 11 people were injured in the encounter, two so seriously they had to go to the hospital.

Turkey blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the militant Kurdistan Workers Party while Washington’s police chief described the incident as a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement the conduct of Turkish security personnel during the incident was “deeply disturbing.” And the Turkish government summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara to discuss the “violent incidents.”

The congressional aide said the Foreign Affairs Committee would take up the resolution on Thursday.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)