Feds to charge 12 Turkish agents over Embassy brawl in DC – report
The AP cited an unnamed US official who said seven Turkish agents would be charged with felonies, and that five Turkish agents would face misdemeanor charges.
The AP reported earlier Wednesday that two Turkish men living in the US had been arrested for their role in beating peaceful protesters outside the Turkish embassy in DC last month. The incident, captured on video, provoked a diplomatic scandal.
The two men arrested were Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin, according the Washington-based Turkish news website, Washington Hatti.
Yildirim is a 50-year-old construction company owner from New Jersey who faces charges of alleged assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault.
Narin, from Virginia, faces an alleged aggravated assault charge.
“Now that charges have been filed, the Department will weigh additional actions for the named individuals, as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations. Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges,” a State Department official said, confirming the arrests to the Daily Caller.
The violent brawl on May 16 occurred shortly before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was returning to the Turkish embassy after having met with President Donald Trump during a state visit.
Video of the incident shows a large group of Erdogan supporters and bodyguards suddenly crossing the street in front of the embassy to where the smaller group of protesters were standing. Some of them, armed, were seen punching, kicking and stomping the protesters. Yildrim and Narin were among them.
Yildrim, is reported to be in the video, wearing a light-colored shirt, and kicking a female protester, along with Narin, while she was on the ground.
The incident provoked a diplomatic scandal, coinciding with the US’s announcement to arm Kurdish Syrian militants with small arms and military hardware.
On May 18, the Turkish foreign minister called for the removal of the US envoy in Turkey, claiming he is sympathetic to Kurdish Syrians. Top congressional Republicans, joined by Democrats, have demanded swift action after the Turkish president’s security detail violently broke up a protest in Washington, DC.
On May 22, the Turkish government summoned the US ambassador to protest what it said were “aggressive and unprofessional actions” by police and diplomatic security service towards President Recep Erdogan’s bodyguards during the brawl.
US Ambassador John Bass was given a “written and verbal protest” against actions that the Turkish Foreign Ministry said were “contrary to diplomatic rules and practices,”according to Reuters.
Ankara requested “a full investigation of this diplomatic incident.”
Last week, the House unanimously passed a bill condemning the Turkish government over the incident.
Lucy Usoyan, a Kurdish activist and the woman kicked and stomped by Yildirim, Narin and other Erdogan supporters, told The Daily Caller that she went to the hospital where she was diagnosed with head trauma.
Erdogan watched the attack unfold from his black Mercedes-Benz, which was parked outside of the embassy. Video recordings suggest that he may even have ordered his bodyguards and supporters such as Yildirim to launch an assault on the protesters.
There are three different investigations on the incidents by the Washington DC Police Force, the US State Department and the US Secret Service.
Turkey's Embassy in Washington accused the Washington police for comments that the protesters were "linked to terrorists" after the event.
The Washington Metropolitan Police is expected to hold a press conference on the arrests Thursday.