U.S. Senator John McCain, one of the leading foreign policy voices in Congress, on Thursday urged the expulsion of Turkey’s U.S. ambassador after violence erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington.
“I’m still outraged at this Turkish beating,” McCain said. “We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” McCain, the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC in an interview on Thursday, adding that legal action could also be pursued.
“This is the United States of America, this isn’t Turkey, this isn’t a third-world country, and this kind of thing cannot go un-responded to diplomatically and maybe in other ways,” McCain added. He suggested bringing lawsuits against those responsible.
“After all, they violated American laws in the United States of America,” he said. “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,” the Senator stressed.
In a written statement, a spokesperson for the Turkish Embassy said:
“Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador’s Residence, while the President of Turkey was visiting the Residence. The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured. The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration. We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur.”