DC police to charge 12 Turkish security agents
- Author: Megan Austin Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 6:12
In addition to the 12 Turkish security officers and police, prosecutors also announced felony assault charges against two Americans and two Canadians in connection with the violence. Sinan Narin, of Virginia was arrested in Virginia and charged with aggravated assault. Sources tell The New York Times that the guards will face several felony and misdemeanor counts.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert would not say whether the United States plans to seek the extradition of the security officials, who returned to Turkey prior to the completion of the investigation, avoiding arrest.
"We all saw the violence that was perpetrated against the protesters", said the Metropolitan police chief, Peter Newsham.
Two people were arrested immediately following the altercation, with another two arrested earlier this week.
Police have spent the weeks since the melee identifying suspects with video technology. One video showed the Turkish president, surrounded by bodyguards, watching the scene by his auto as the chaos unfolded. "The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured".
However, they could end up being threatened with arrest if they return to the US.
"Anyone traveling to the United States will be held to that same standard", she said.
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Authorities in the District said Thursday that they've criminally charged a dozen members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security team who authorities say attacked protesters outside the ambassador's residence in May.
Whether or not the Turkish citizens, who were all either Turkish security officers or Turkish police officers, will ever actually face charges in the USA remains to be seen.
Erdogan said the protesters were members of an outlawed Kurdish militant group and the US police failed to act. The attack occurred during Erdogan's visit to Washington to meet with President Trump, who has spoken favorably of Erdogan's increasingly undemocratic government.
Video footage showed men in suits charging past police to kick and punch protesters. Newsham said Thursday there was no indication that the protesters were part of a terrorist group.
It is unclear whether an official request for extradition has been extended to Turkey - or Canada - but State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday that the USA was looking at "additional steps" and warned that if any of the individuals sought USA visas in the future, "We know that they have warrants out for their arrests".
Eleven people were hurt in what Washington's police chief called a "brutal attack" on peaceful protesters.
The incident comes amid increasingly strained tensions between the US and Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally that has grown more authoritarian in recent years under Erdoğan's leadership and drawn criticism from prominent USA politicians.