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Erdogan's visit to Washington sparks protests from Kurds, Syrians

Members of the Syrian Democratic Council made signs to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's November 13 visit to Washington.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Council made signs to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's November 13 visit to Washington. FRANCE 24 (screengrab)

US President Donald Trump is set to host his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the second time on Tuesday. Trump tweeted he was looking forward to the meeting, but not everyone is happy with the visit, starting with Washington's Kurdish diaspora.

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Standing near the US Capitol, Lukman Ahmad, a Syrian Kurdish refugee and artist, expressed his message to Erdogan while Kurdish children drew colorful signs asking for peace.

“Out of Rojava,” Ahmad said. “And stop killing Kurdish people. Kurdish people have [rights] as… a nation. We are not terrorists.”

“Rojava” refers to the region in northeast Syria where the Kurds had established control before Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to police the area in late October, an accord that resulted from Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops stationed there.

Today, the protesters in Washington hope to remind Erdogan and the world that about 11,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces have died fighting the Islamic State group since 2014.

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