Bodyguards accompanying Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his trip to the U.S. clashed with protesters in Washington on Wednesday, the Guardian reported.
Nine people were hurt and two were arrested when Erdogan's security personnel attacked protesters carrying the flag of a Kurdish political party while they rallied outside the Turkish envoy's residence, the report said.
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.
“All of the sudden they just ran towards us,” the report quoted one of the ralliers as saying. “Someone was beating me in the head nonstop, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m on the ground already, what is the purpose to beat me?’”
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.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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