United States capital slams 'attack' as Erdogan guards clash with protesters

Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over USA support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, a group that Turkey considers a front for banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists. Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Erdogan responded that there is there is no place for any Kurdish "terrorist organizations" in any agreement about the region's future.

Erdogan said that the United States had made its decision on the subject of the Raqqa operation and that Turkey could not participate, given the YPG involvement.

Citing a cross-border offensive Turkey launched against IS and the YPG in Syria past year, Erdogan said "we won't hesitate to launch similar operations if we see the need". "People have the right in our country to peacefully demonstrate and they were peacefully demonstrating".

Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield operation inside Syria previous year, backing Syrian rebels with tanks, air strikes and special forces to sweep Islamic State from its southern border and stop the advance of the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organisation. "We are not going to beg", he said.

Turkey's foreign minister also demanded that a USA envoy be removed for allegedly backing the Kurds, but the State Department said Brett McGurk has the "full support" of the Trump administration.

"When we take this step we don't speak or consult with anyone as we don't have any time to waste".

"This McGurk is definitely supporting the PKK and YPG. It would be beneficial for this person to change", he said, accusing the diplomat of carrying on Obama-administration policies.

Cavusoglu said Trump had understood Turkey's position, and did not challenge Erdogan when the Turkish president set out his possible response to the YPG.

Differences over Syria policy have caused friction with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Washington. They said they expected "conduct more appropriate" from Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a key USA ally.

Last month, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish fighters in Iraq's Sinjar region and YPG militia in Syria. McCain said during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the men responsible for the violence were members of "Erdogan's security detail".

Particular scrutiny needs to be paid to the actions of Erdogan's security guards, who, a state-owned Turkish news service confirmed, were involved in the fighting because - can you believe the gall? - they didn't think police were doing enough to quiet the protest.

Police in Washington said the clash "appeared to be a brutal attack on peaceful protesters" and video footage showed men in suits charging past police to kick and punch a group of demonstrators.