Turkish Security Officials Indicted for Attacking US Protesters


The US Justice Department charged three more bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for assaulting protesters in Washington in May in a brawl that marred an official White House visit.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador's residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders.

Sixteen were charged on June 13 and an indictment on Tuesday added three - all Turkish security officials. Two of the defendants were arrested in June and face an initial court hearing on September 7.

Eleven people were injured in the melee outside the Turkish ambassador's residence.

The district attorney levelled 21 counts of assault and hate crimes based on the victims' ethnicity.

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The Turkish Embassy claimed Erdogan's bodyguards acted in "self-defense", without citing any evidence.

"What we saw yesterday-a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration-is an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans", Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement at the time.

"Why would I bring my guards with me to the United States, if not to protect me?" he said in a speech in Ankara, in which he vowed to fight the charges "politically and judicially". Numerous 19 were also indicted on additional charges including assault with a unsafe weapon and aggravated assault.

The security personnel and other Erdogan supporters allegedly charged through a police line towards a group of protesters gathered in northwest Washington's Sheridan Circle on May 16, throwing the protesters to the ground and kicking and punching them to the point where some lost consciousness, according to the indictment. The rest of the defendants are still at large.

The conspiracy to commit a crime of violence charge carries a maximum of 15 years in prison, and the bias enhancements add another 7 ½ years if found true. Turkey's ambassador to the US was also summoned to the State Department to discuss the incident. ".indictment. -.aug.29, .2017.pdf" target="_blank">indictment also recognized that the attackers "significantly outnumbered" the anti-Erdogan protesters and "blatantly ignored American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".