Politicians are calling for action over the bloodshed between bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and protesters while a 26-year-old student has recounted the terrifying ordeal firsthand, including a threat made on her life.
“My Kurdish friends and allies were protesting peacefully against Erdogan being in Washington when we were suddenly attacked by a group of Erdogan’s official bodyguards and secret police,” Ceren Borazan wrote on Facebook.
“They attacked women, children and the elderly with reckless abandon. I ran in the opposite direction from our friends and got caught by one of the security guards.”
Speaking with BuzzFeed, Borazan identified herself as the woman seen in footage circulating online struggling as a security agent allegedly working for Erdogan engulfs her neck with his arm.
“He put me in a headlock to the point where he popped a blood vessel in my eye,” said Borazan.
The New Jersey resident described to BuzzFeed how the man called her a “b—h” in Turkish and told her, “I’m going to kill you, you’re dead, you are gone.”
Fortunately, Borazan was able to get away and found the help of a nearby driver willing to let her inside his car.
“I swear that man saved my life,” she said.
The Turkish Embassy’s statement claimed the activists were “aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president,” causing Erdogan’s supporters and security staff to act in self-defense and kick at least two people in the head while they were on the ground.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren took to Twitter Wednesday evening to decry the violence that took place near Washington, D.C.’s Sheridan Circle.
“Supporters of Turkish President Erdogan, including his own bodyguards, savagely beat peaceful protestors at the Turkish Embassy,” Lofgren stated. “They should be arrested immediately and prosecuted.
“And ‘bodyguards’ with diplomatic visas should be revoked right away.”
Across the aisle, Lofgren’s colleague from the state of California Rep. Ed Royce sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggesting that charges be brought against the bodyguards immediately, as “agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior.”
“To send a clear message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated, I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States,” Royce said in his letter.
Not quite as forceful, Sen. John McCain retweeted footage of the gory encounter, commenting, “This is the United States of America. We do not do this here. There is no excuse for this kind of thuggish behavior.”
Meanwhile, Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ben Cardin, and Tom Cotton are demanding an apology from Turkey.