Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Arrest warrants out for Turkish agents, others in DC melee

A dozen members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail will face charges for their involvement in a violent attack on protestors in Washington, D.C., last month, two USA officials told The New York Times.

In a charging document presented in court Thursday against Sinan Narin, one of four Turkish-Americans already arrested in the case, Washington police detective Victor DePeralta called the incident a "vicious attack". The MPD, State Department and U.S. Attorney's Office teamed up on the investigation. Both face charges of assault causing significant bodily injury. Sources tell The New York Times that the guards will face several felony and misdemeanor counts.

Erdogan's security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit, so it was unclear if any would face any immediate U.S. legal repercussions.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert addressed media but would not say on Thursday whether an extradition request would be made.

"In the United States and particularly in the District of Columbia, we hold our ability to peaceful protest as a sacred right", Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham told reporters.

The men, all Turkish citizens, include nine Erdogan security guards and three Turkish police.

Two of the defendants are American citizens and were arrested Wednesday.

In video footage captured by Voice of America Turkey, Mr. Erdogan is seen in his auto in the driveway at the ambassador's residence with a view of the demonstration across the street, arriving shortly after fighting between pro-Turkish civilians and pro-Kurdish demonstrators had wound down.

The US official, who was not authorized to speak publicly to the matter and demanded anonymity, said DC police had identified 34 of 42 people who were involved in the fight, and are seeking their arrests.

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The US had voiced "strongest possible" concern to Turkey over the street brawl that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel in May, injuring 11 people.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will fight USA arrest warrants for his security team over a brawl last month in Washington.

The incident outside the Turkish Ambassador's Residence during Erdogan's visit to Washington has strained U.S. If they ever return to the United States, however, they risk being arrested, according to the New York Times.

Speaking at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked, "what kind of a law is this?".

The ministry also noted that such an incident would not have occurred had US authorities taken the proper measures they take during similar high level visits.

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.

Members of Erdogan's bodyguards charged included Turgut Akar, Ismail Dalkiran, Servet Erkan, Tugay Erkan, Ahmet Karabay, Feride Kayasan, Lutfu Kutluca, Mustafa Murat Sumercan, Gokhan Yildirim, Ismail Ergunduz, Mehmet Sarman and Hamza Yurteri. The men in suits could be seen repeatedly stomping one woman as she lay curled on a sidewalk. "These types of unprovoked attacks on innocent Americans and their constitutional rights can never happen again".

Last month, a protest outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington D.C. turned bloody when pro-Erdogan security forces roughed up the activists outside.

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