WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States can confirm that two Turkish security officers involved in attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC earlier this week were detained and released, yet a probe of the incident is ongoing, a State Department official told Sputnik.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards attacked a group of Kurdish protesters on Tuesday outside the home of Turkey’s ambassador to the United States amid Erdogan’s visit to Washington. The crackdown left 11 people injured, 9 of whom were hospitalized.
"We can confirm that two members of the Turkish security detail were briefly detained during the altercations and subsequently released," the official said on Thursday. "The case is currently under investigation and we are not going to go into specifics or speculate on what may happen."
The official added that the State Department found the conduct of Turkish security personnel "deeply disturbing," and a thorough investigation that will allow the United States to hold the responsible individuals accountable is of "upmost importance."
A US law enforcement official told Sputnik earlier in the day that federal authorities detained the two Turkish guards in question until their diplomatic status was clarified.
"The Secret Service detained two individuals until their diplomatic status could be verified, once it was verified it became a state department matter," the law enforcement official told Sputnik. "We still continue to cooperate with MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] and the state department on any request that they may have."
The State Department said it contacted Ankara Wednesday to express its deep concerns about Tuesday’s violent incidents. The Turkish embassy, however, later released a statement blaming the altercation on protesters it said were supporting the US-outlawed terror group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).