Turkish Embassy brawl in DC results in hate crime charges
Eyup Yildirim, 50, who owns a construction company in New Jersey, and is a supporter of Turkey’s president, was arrested last week and charged with assault with significant bodily injury, aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, according to court documents obtained by The Daily Caller.
Yildirim was part of last month’s fight with people protesting President Recep Erdogan’s visit to the US where he met with President Donald Trump.
Yildirim was arrested last week on charges of “kicking another person in the head and face” and “were motivated by ethnic bias,” according to papers filed in the US District court of New Jersey and obtained by the Daily Caller.
In Wasnington, hate and bias related crimes hold provisions which can tack on extra jail time and fines for offenders, according to the website of the Metropolitan Police Department.
The protesters were mostly of the Kurdish ethnic group, and were standing across the street from the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC.
Members of Erdogan’s security detail were joined by supporters of the conservative-leaning president and got into an altercation with the protesters across the street from the ambassador’s residence.
After trading insults, the verbal slugfest escalated into a full scale brawl, when the pro-Erdogan crowd charged across the street and began attacking the protesters. They punched, kicked and stomped the demonstrators, the Daily Caller reported.
Video footage shows a Kurdish protester, Lucy Usoyan, being kicked by Yildirim during the confrontation. Moments later, she lies defenseless on the ground.
She lost consciousness, according to an interview conducted by the Daily Caller last month.
Usoyan was diagnosed with a head injury after being taken to the hospital and undergoing a CT scan.
Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said during a news conference last month that 11 people were among those injured, with nine hospitalized.
A police officer among the injured, according to a federal law enforcement official, as reported by the New York Times.
Another Erdogan supporter, Sinan Narin, was also arrested last week in relation to the incident. Whether Narin will also face hate crime charges, is not yet known. DC Metro Police drew up arrest warrants for the 12 men who were named as being involved with Erdogan’s security detail, along with two Turkish-Canadian men who also participated in the melee.
The Turkish government has said that the protesters were presenting a physical threat to Erdogan and have also stated that they believe the protesters are supporters of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist party which is recognized as a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the US. There has been no confirmation that the protesters were involved in any kind of terrorism, according to the Daily Caller.
Yildirim faces 19 years in prison if he is convicted. He was taken to jail in Essex County, NJ last week and was released Thursday. It is not clear yet if he had posted bail or if he is being transported back to DC, according to the Daily Caller.