McCain Calls to Throw Out Turkish Envoy After Erdogan's Bodyguards Scuffle With Protesters in D.C.

'Somebody told them to go and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators,' McCain tells MSNBC

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) AARON P. BERNSTEIN/REUTERS

Sen. John McCain said Thursday that Turkey's ambassador to the United States should be removed after a clash between Turkish security and protesters in Washington D.C. this week. 

"I'd throw the Turkish ambassador out," the Arizona Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," the Hill reported.

Nine people were hurt and two were arrested when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security personnel attacked protesters carrying the flag of a Kurdish political party while they rallied outside the Turkish envoy's residence on Wednesday.

“These are not just average people that did this beating, this is Erdogan’s security detail,” said McCain. “Somebody told them to go and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators and I think it should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them.”

“After all, they violated American laws in the United States of America, so you cannot have that happen in the United States of America. People have the right in our country to peacefully demonstrate and they were peacefully demonstrating.”

A State Department spokeswoman said, referring to the incident, the United States is communicating concerns to Turkey's government "in strongest possible terms."

According to a local NBC affiliate, Erdogan was inside the building while the violent clashes erupted.

On Wednedsay, McCain condemned the Turkish authorities. "This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior," he tweeted. 

Erdogan visited U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House on Tuesday. The two leaders touted strong ties between the NATO allies, but Erdogan emphasized his country will not accept Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region while stopping short of directly criticizing a U.S. decision to arm them. 

During the visit, Trump lauded Erdogan as an important ally in the "fight against terrorism" and did not mention Erdogan's domestic crackdown after last year's failed coup attempt.