Some of the more than 100 students who gathered for the protest in downtown Istanbul were slightly injured, the Anatolia news agency said. Private news channel NTV showed riot police grabbing students by their arms and legs and carrying them away.
Police said the students did not have a permit to hold the demonstration.
The protesters in Washington, where international finance meetings are being held, say the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are saddling countries with crushing debt payments and promoting environmental destruction and sweatshops.
Under strict orders from the IMF, Turkey is carrying out an ambitious anti-inflation program.
Also in Istanbul, a small group of left-wing students stormed a U.S. education fair and burned an American flag to protest the U.S. military and business presence in Turkey.
Holding banners that read: "Yankee go home," and "Take your soldiers, military bases, your hamburgers," some 20 students raided a presentation of U.S. colleges aimed at attracting Turkish students. They later left the premises of Istanbul Technical University peacefully.
The U.S. Air Force uses a southern Turkish air base to monitor a no-fly zone over northern Iraq.