D.C. authorities will announce criminal charges Thursday against 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail and the police force who authorities say attacked protesters outside the ambassador’s residence last month, according to two officials familiar with the case.
Authorities have scheduled an 11:45 a.m. news conference with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. Police officials say arrest warrants have been issued and that the suspects, all believed to be in Turkey, are now wanted in the United States.
The charges come nearly a month after the clashes at Sheridan Circle along Massachusetts Avenue’s Embassy Row. Police and other officials say various members of Erdogan’s visiting security team, some of them armed, attacked a group protesting his regime as police struggled to restore order. Bystanders recorded the confrontation with cellphones.
People injured in the May 16 attack and U.S. lawmakers have criticized the initial response, which was complicated by issues of diplomatic immunity and relations with Turkey, which is sure to be angry over the warrants. Officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington could not be reached Wednesday evening.
Some critics were angry that police did not make more arrests on the spot. The U.S. State Department ordered a federal police agency to release two presidential guards taken into custody, saying they had diplomatic immunity.
It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether those issues have been sorted out. D.C. police said they have been working closely over the past several weeks with the State Department and the U.S. Secret Service, poring over video clips and trying to decide how to proceed.
D.C. police arrested two people at the altercation, at least one of whom identified himself as a supporter of Erdogan.
Police said Wednesday that they had arrested two additional suspects — Sinan Narin, of Virginia, who is charged with felony aggravated assault, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey, who is charged with felony assault with significant bodily injury and felony aggravated assault. Narin is expected to be in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday; Yildirim was awaiting extradition from New Jersey.
SOURCE: Peter Hermann
The Washington Post