June 24, 2017

Turkish Presidential Guards Charged Over Violent Brawl With Protesters

16 June 2017, 06:14 | Clarence Schmidt

Halil Mutlu cousin of Recep Erdogan and Eyup Yildirim

Halil Mutlu cousin of Recep Erdogan and Eyup Yildirim

Police in the USA capital issued arrest warrants Thursday for a dozen Turkish security agents accused of attacking protesters during a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month, prompting an angry denunciation by Turkey's leader and creating a new spat between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. Two Canadians of Turkish origin were also charged in the incident. The MPD, State Department and U.S. Attorney's Office teamed up on the investigation.

Washington police officials confirmed that the two Americans are Sinan Narin, of Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey. Both face charges of assault causing significant bodily injury. Yildirim was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor assault count.

The Turkish Embassy blamed the violence on demonstrators linked to the outlawed PKK, which Turkey and the United States consider a terrorist group.

"We all saw the violence that was perpetrated against the protesters", Newsham said. Things became messy when the security detail and a few Erdogan supporters attacked the protesters. The two Americans were arrested on Wednesday.

For those police have yet to identify, they are expected to release video footage and photographs of more suspects involved in the fighting, asking the public's assistance in identifying the perpetrators.

The police chief did not comment further if they were specifically trying to link the Turkish president with the fighting, but did not rule the possibility out.

"We will defend the First Amendment, and we will make sure our laws are being enforced", Bowser said Thursday.

A total of 18 arrest warrants have now been issued over the brawl, which left nine people in the hospital after the fight escalated outside of the Turkish ambassador's D.C. residence.

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"Anyone traveling to the United States will be held to that same standard", she said.

The clash happened as Erdogan arrived at the ambassador's residence after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump on May 16.

News that police will bring charges comes after the House passed a resolution on June 6 that calls for "any Turkish security official" who "directed or participated" in the attack to be charged and prosecuted under US law.

Law enforcement officials in the American capital are expected to announce the charges at a press conference on Thursday, according to various reports in USA media outlets.

"Recep Tayyip Erdogan was chosen by the Turkish people".

The U.S. authorities' decision to issue arrest warrants for Turkish security guards is not independent or objective, the foreign ministry said in a statement published late Thursday.

Video of the demonstrations showed Erdogan's security detail going head-to-head with a small gaggle of protesters, using their fists and feet to pummel them into submission. A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing anti-government protesters and punching and kicking them as police struggled to intervene.

The protesters, he said, "were not physically aggressive in any way, nor were they even physically proximate to the pro-Erdogan contingent". They also violently attacked journalists covering the event, kicking an American cameraman in the chest to prevent him capturing the president's arrival.

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