The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it was “concerned by the violent incidents” near the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., a day earlier, confirming reports that Turkish security personnel were involved in attacks on protesters. At least 11 people were injured in clashes after demonstrators protesting against Recep Tayyip Erdogan say they were ambushed by men they said were the Turkish president’s bodyguards. Police said Wednesday that they have arrested two people in connection with the violence, though it was not clear whether the individuals had any connection to Turkish authorities. The Turkish Embassy said the protesters had initiated the violence by provoking Turkish citizens who were expressing support for Erdogan. A State Department spokesman condemned the incident “involving protesters and Turkish security personnel.” “Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the State Department said. “We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” the statement said. A State Department official cited by CNN said the men who carried out the attack were thought to be a blend of Turkish Embassy staff and Erdogan’s security detail.
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