Washington officials to respond to attack on anti-Erdogan crowd

Frederick Owens
June 24, 2017

He explained that his bodyguards' presence at the brawl was merely to protect him, despite video that shows him watching from a nearby vehicle while his guards are fighting. And the Turks have demanded the USA extradite exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen for allegedly organizing last summer's failed coup.

Erdogan's security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit. [District Police Chief Peter] Newsham added that the personnel will be arrested if they attempt to enter the U.S.

Erdogan said the protesters were members of an outlawed Kurdish militant group and the United States police failed to act. In another, they kick a different protester lying on the ground with a bullhorn.

After police officers struggled to protect the protesters and ordered the men in suits to retreat, several of the men dodged the officers and ran into the park to continue the attacks.

Eleven people were hurt in the fracas, nine of whom needed hospital treatment.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the security officials, police said.

Sinan Narin, of Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey, were each taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with with felony and misdemeanor assault.

Yildirim appeared in court that day in Newark, where his public defender, David Holman, said Yildirim had received death threats because of the incident.

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Two Americans have already been charged for participating in the assault. Their cases are pending, according to the court.

Two people, at least one of them a protester, had previously been charged.

Police said they would release images of the suspects who they had not been able to identify.

The move came after the USA authority issued arrest warrants for 16 people, including 12 bodyguards of the Turkish President, over an incident in May, outside Turkey's Washington embassy. Demonstrators were protesting Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian regime outside the Turkish ambassador's residence when a group of men stormed their picket line and started throwing punches.

Washington police are leading the investigation, in cooperation with federal law enforcement and the U.S. State Department.

The showdown between Erdogan's guards and the protesters came as tensions between the United States and Turkey continued to rise over America's backing of the Syrian Kurdish rebels.

The Turkish embassy said the protesters were affiliated with the PKK and had provoked "Turkish American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

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