Turkey's Erdogan slams United States over security guards charged in Washington brawl

Posted June 16, 2017

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned US envoy to Ankara, John Bass over the U.S.' decision to issue arrest warrants against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's security guards and some Turkish citizens after the incident which took place in Washington.

Newsman said the warrents were issued by the D.C. police, not the state department. The DC-based Turkish news site Washington Hatti reported today that Eyup Yildirim was arrested for playing a role in this incident, and the Daily Caller now reports that a second, Sinan Narin, was also arrested.

Ellialti has also been charged with aggravated assault while Dereci faces a charge of misdemeanor assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner. According to AP, seven of the men face felony charges and five face misdemeanor charges.

In a news conference Thursday, District of Columbia Police Chief Peter Newsham urged those being sought and some still unidentified to surrender and face American justice, adding two Americans were arrested a day earlier in the case. Turkish citizens were moved from the area by the police, but PKK sympathizers stayed where they were.

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Police have spent the weeks since the melee identifying suspects with video technology. The brawl was just business as usual for Erdogan's team, for whom even a few criminal charges were worth the opportunity to give those protesting a gathering of Turkish-Americans a taste of home.

Two men were arrested at the time, and the US State Department registered concern to Turkey in the "strongest possible terms".

Twelve people were injured in the violent confrontation that took place outside the Turkish ambassador's residence on Sheridan Circle. "If they attempt to enter the United States they will be arrested", Newsham said.

The US ambassador to Ankara, John Bass, has been summoned for talks by the Foreign Ministry, as a result. He repeatedly urged those with an outstanding warrant to turn themselves over to USA officials.

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Erdogan lashed back, accusing United States police of having allowed "terrorists" to protest "50 meters from me" during his U.S. visit.

Speaking at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked, "what kind of a law is this?". A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing anti-government protesters and punching and kicking them as police struggled to intervene.

The New York Times revealed in a Wednesday report that "law enforcement officials plan to announce charges Thursday", and cited anonymous officials who knew about the upcoming legal move.

"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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The Turkish government summoned the American ambassador in turn to object to the handling of the case, and has accused the protestors of being members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party - or PKK - which the United States and Turkey consider to be a terrorist organization.