Turkish leader's security officers charged with assault in Washington

Author

16 June, 2017

U.S. authorities said Thursday they have issued arrest warrants for 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail accused of assaulting protesters during a street brawl in Washington.

"In Washington, D.C., we do not care particularly what your views are, what you support or what you do not support", Newsham said.

Turkey summoned the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, to the Foreign Office on Thursday after American authorities issued arrest warrants for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

The Times article also noted the charges against the two men, and detailed that "Narin was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault". Members of the security team face several felony and misdemeanor counts.

"We all saw the violence that was perpetrated against the protesters", Newsham said.

Two men were arrested in the United States.

Shortly after the clash, footage surfaced showing Erdogan watching from the residence's driveway as members of his security detail beat up demonstrators.

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Newsham said that the State Department cooperated with MPD and helped identify the suspects using visa and passport photos.

The May 16 skirmish, caught on video, left nine protesters injured outside the Turkish ambassador's residence and further strained ties at a time when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria.

Turkey considers the fighters to be an extension the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, and claims without evidence that protesters who showed up during Erdogan's visit to Washington last week were themselves associated with the PKK. Turkey is also a key USA ally in its campaign against Islamic State militants, but the two nations have butted heads over their respective relationships with Kurdish fighters, some of whom the US has armed even though Turkey claims the groups are terrorist organizations. Nauert declined to answer questions on how the administration plans on trying to return them to the United States, but did tell reporters that those bodyguards who left the country no longer enjoy diplomatic immunity. The attack occurred during Erdogan's visit to Washington to meet with President Trump, who has spoken favorably of Erdogan's increasingly undemocratic government.

In video annotated by The New York Times, Muhsin Kose, identified as Mr. Erdogan's head of security, is seen next to the Turkish president and speaks into an earpiece before three guards are seen departing. He repeatedly urged those with an outstanding warrant to turn themselves over to US officials.

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.

"Rarely have I seen in my nearly 28 years of policing the type of thing I saw in Sheridan Circle on that particular day", said Newsham.


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