Woman Says Turkish President's Bodyguard Choked Her And Said "You're Dead" During Embassy Protest

Ceren Borazan, a 26-year-old student, told BuzzFeed News she feared for her life during the altercation, images of which were widely shared on social media.

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At least 12 people were injured, including one police officer, when the peaceful protest turned into a brawl involving Turkish security personnel, the State Department confirmed.

Two people were arrested at the scene of the altercation, which erupted after Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House. Pro- and anti-Erdogan protesters were gathered outside the embassy, where men in black suits were seen attacking demonstrators.

Authorities, including the mayor, police, and State Department, condemned the violent attack against the peaceful protesters. The State Department also said it was "communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms."

The Turkish Embassy, meanwhile, released a statement blaming the violence on demonstrators who "began aggressively provoking" Turkish-American citizens who had assembled to greet Erdogan.

Borazan said that she was the woman in the photo widely shared on social media, that showed a man in a black suit grabbing her by the neck.

PLEASE JOIN ME by asking 4 justice for those of us who were attacked yesterday by Erdogan's bodyguards.… https://t.co/uIpaC4To22

Borazan — a Kurd from Turkey who came to the US in 2013 — told BuzzFeed News that she and the others were at the protest "to make our voices heard."

"But suddenly Erdogan's bodyguards — I'm pretty sure it was them — attacked all of us," she said.

Borazan added that she saw some of the men in the suits with guns in their jackets. Police also said that some of the people involved in the altercation were carrying firearms.

"My Kurdish friends and allies were protesting peacefully against Erdogan being in Washington when were suddenly attacked by a group of Erdogan's official bodyguards and secret police."

"They attacked women, children and elderly with reckless abandon," Borazan wrote.

Borazan told BuzzFeed News that the man called her a "bitch" in Turkish and told her, "I'm going to kill you, you're dead, you are gone." A video clip of the attack was shared on social media.

In this footage, one of #Erdogan's barbaric bodyguards is seen strangling and beating up a woman IN WASHINGTON D.C.

She said that she managed to get away from the guard's grip and get inside a helpful stranger's car.

Borazan said she could not report the assault to police at the time as she did not see the man's face. However, she did report another man who kicked her and other protesters during the attack.

Police said they arrested Ayten Necemi, 49, of Woodside, New York, for aggravated assault. Jalal Kheirabaoi of Fairfax, Virginia, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer.

DC Police did not respond to questions about the identity of the attacker in the photo, saying that it was an "active and ongoing investigation."

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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