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D.C. Police Arrest Two, Plan Charges Against Erdogan Security Guards

  • RFE/RL

WASHINGTON -- Police in Washington, D.C., have issued arrest warrants for 12 Turkish security agents and two others accused of taking part in an attack on protesters during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16.

In a news conference on June 15, Police Chief Peter Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowser said the warrants were issued for nine Turkish security agents, three Turkish police officers, and two Canadians.

Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan condemned the U.S. decision, saying, "What kind of a law is this?" and vowing to fight through political and legal methods.

The president’s security personnel returned with him to Turkey after the visit, and it is unlikely they will face U.S. legal proceedings unless they atempt to reenter the United States.

Newsham said there was no probable cause to arrest Erdogan, who was seen in videos watching the melee from a nearby car.

Widely distributed videos showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as police attempted to intervene.

The Turkish Embassy claimed the demonstrators were associated with the PKK, a banned Kurdish militant group, and that they had provoked the security personnel. Newsham said there was no indication the protesters belonged to the group.

Prosecutors said 18 people have so far been charged in the incident, including two Canadians and four Americans.

On June 14, the authorities announced the arrest of Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey on felony and misdemeanor assault charges.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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