Turkish Guards Stomped US Protesters. Now, Charges


In an affidavit to support an arrest warrant, D.C. Police wrote, "during the course of the official Turkish visit, Turkish security personnel and others assaulted protestors and USA law enforcement officers in at least three separate incidents".

The charges emerged following the arrest on Wednesday of two Turkish-American men for their role in the attack.

The 14 foreign suspects announced Thursday were identified with the full cooperation of the State Department, Newsham said, by comparing videos of the incident to passport and visa photos.

Those who took part in the fight ultimately face several felony and misdemeanor charges of assault, should they be extradited. It said Eyup Yildirim had been arrested in New Jersey on charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault.

And then there was the added wrinkle that the entire security detail for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had left the country with him just hours after the incident.

Seven Turkish agents would be charged with felonies and five agents would face misdemeanor charges, according to the AP. "If they attempt to enter the United States, they will be arrested", he said. It's unclear how the arrests for the officers and agents will be carried out, but D.C. police said they will be taking "necessary steps" to apprehend the individuals.

When Erdogan's group arrived at the property, Turkish security provoked the demonstrators and a violent outburst broke out that entangled demonstrators from both sides, Turkish security, and American law enforcement. The Toronto police, which often arrests people wanted in other jurisdictions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Others involved in the brawl left the United States prior to the completion of the investigation and before arrest warrants could be obtained for them, a law enforcement official told CNN. Eleven people were injured and nine were hospitalized, as Erdogan watched from his Mercedes-Benz.

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The events occurred on May 16 immediately after Erdogan's visit with President Donald Trump at the White House, and led to a major rift between the USA and Turkey at a time when relations are already strained.

Whether or not the Turkish citizens, who were all either Turkish security officers or Turkish police officers, will ever actually face charges in the US remains to be seen.

The charges pose a test for the strategically important relationship between the USA and Turkey.

"If they attempt to enter the US, they will be arrested", Newsham said, calling on the suspects to turn themselves in.

Turkish officials have admitted that security officers participated in the fracas but said they were acting in self defense, contending that protesters started the brawl and that D.C. police refused to arrest them.

Video recordings of the incident show Erdogan supporters and his bodyguards clashing with Kurdish and Armenian protesters who accuse the Turkish president of rights abuses.

The pro-Turkish government newspaper Daily Sabah quoted the president as saying: "We will do everything, politically, diplomatically, to resolve it". Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk.

"We don't have any information right now to suggest that we have probable cause to make an arrest of the president", Newsham said. However, the city's police chief said investigators had insufficient evidence to charge Erdogan in what he characterized as a "pretty brutal" attack.