Turkish President's bodyguards to be charged after violent brawl with protesters on Washington visit

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildrim facing penalties for felony and misdemeanour assault

Members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail are shown violently reacting to peaceful protesters during Erdogan's trip to Washington on 16 May AP

Law enforcement officials plan to announce charges on Thursday against a dozen members of the Turkish President’s security detail for their involvement in a brutal attack on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence here last month, two US officials said Wednesday.

Authorities have already charged several others, including two Americans and two Canadians, with taking part in the skirmish.

The Washington police have been investigating the 16 May incident along with the State Department and the Secret Service. The police planned to announce the charges Thursday morning, according to the two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the charges before they were made public.

Washington police officials confirmed that the two Americans are Sinan Narin, of Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey. Narin was charged with felony and misdemeanour assault. Yildirim, who can be seen on video repeatedly kicking a protester, was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanour assault count. The two did not immediately return calls Wednesday requesting comment.

The entire security detail for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey left the country with him just hours after the incident. Members of the security team face several felony and misdemeanour counts, the US officials said.

It is unlikely that Turkey would extradite the men to the United States to face the charges, but they do face the possibility of arrest if they ever return.

The State Department said Wednesday that it would weigh additional action against those who have been charged, “as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations.”

The Turkish Embassy here did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a statement after the incident, the embassy said that anti-Erdogan protesters had caused the violence by “aggressively provoking” Turkish-American citizens who had gathered to greet the president.

Videos showed armed guards storming a small group of peaceful, anti-Erdogan protesters in plain sight of federal and local law enforcement officers.

A chaotic scene followed in which the guards, protesters, pro-Erdogan civilians and US law enforcement tangled on the street and in a nearby park. Nine people were hospitalised.

The New York Times, after analysing videos and photos, identified at least 24 men, including armed Turkish security forces, who had attacked protesters. Another video shows Erdogan watching the attack play out from a car parked a few yards away.

The New York Times

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