Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to attack protesters who interrupted a speech Erdogan gave Thursday in New York City.
According to footage and reporting by Voice of America and other outlets, multiple individuals protesting Erdogan during an event organized by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee were dragged out of the event by security guards. Videos showed the protesters being kicked and punched in the head by audience members as they were escorted out of the venue.
— Amerika'nın Sesi (@VOATurkish) September 21, 2017
A Turkish journalists’ Periscope feed showed a protester standing up and yelling at Erdogan before being escorted out by security. Voice of America reported that three protesters total were attacked by Erdogan supporters.
BuzzFeed reported that Erdogan asked the crowd, following the disruptions: “Don’t let three to five impertinent people, three to five hall terrorists ruin our lovely gathering.”
Soon afterwards, Erdogan met with President Donald Trump, who lavished praise on Turkey’s leader, despite global condemnation of Erdogan’s heavy-handed crackdown on dissent in his country in the wake of a failed coup in July 2016.
Asked about a May incident in which Turkish security guards beat peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., Trump said Thursday: “We’ll be discussing many issues.”
“We have a great friendship,” Trump said of Erdogan.