Turkish Security Involved in Assault of Anti-Erdogan Protesters in Washington, D.C.

Turkish security officials were involved in Tuesday’s assault of protesters against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, two law enforcement sources tell CNN.

The US State Department said it is “concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel” in a statement on Wednesday.

“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the statement said. “We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”

A State Department official said the Turkish security that was involved appears to be a mix of Turkish embassy and Erdogan security staff.

The bloody brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence Tuesday sent nine to the hospital. Turkish security officials were seen coming out of the ambassador’s residence, then retreating to the residence grounds, a law enforcement official said, adding that the same scenario played out more than once.

Federal and local law enforcement are going through security video to identify exactly who was involved.

“We intend to ensure accountability of anybody involved,” DC police chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference Wednesday.

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SOURCE: CNN, Elise Labott, Zachary Cohen, Paul P. Murphy and Peter Morris