The Turkish ambassador should be thrown "the hell out of the United States of America" after bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan beat and kicked protesters gathered outside the ambassador's Washington D.C. home, Sen. John McCain said Thursday.
"This is the United States of America," McCain told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "This isn't Turkey. This isn't a third-world country, and this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically, and maybe in other ways."
Lawsuits can also be sought, said McCain, as "we can identify these people," but the first step should be to throw the ambassador out of the United States.
"These are not just average people at this," McCain said about the bodyguards. "This is Erdogan's security detail. Somebody told them to go out there and beat up on these peaceful demonstrators, and I think it should have repercussions, including identifying these people and bringing charges against them"
The security detail, he continued, violated American laws on United States ground, and that cannot happen.
"People have the right in our country to peacefully demonstrate, and they were peacefully demonstrating," said McCain.
McCain on Wednesday also condemned the security detail on Twitter for its "thuggish" behavior:
Nine people were hurt and two people were arrested during the incident on Tuesday, and a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson reported two of those who were hurt sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospitals.
The altercation came the same day that Erdogan met with President Donald Trump at the White House.
According to The Washington Post, a Turkish state news agency acknowledged that Erdogan's guards had targeted the demonstrators. The guards, wearing dark suits and ties during the altercations, were also armed, reports The Post.
The Turkish Embassy said Wednesday night, though, that the demonstration was "unpermitted and provocative. It also alleged that the protesters were affiliated with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party," or PKK, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by both the United States and Turkey, but a protest leader denied that claim.
Further, the embassy said in it statement that the demonstrator had been "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens" gathered to greet Erdogan, and the "Turkish-Americans responded in self defense and one of them was seriously injured."
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