Erdogan visit violence: Washington police arrest two Turkish men
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 3:25
Both men are Turkish nationals and were arrested on charges of aggravated assault, according to Commander Rob Fernandez of the task force. Eleven were injured, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference the day of the incident. He said Yildirim is a business owner with three kids and ties to the local community.
Witnesses said the brawl erupted when the security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PDY party outside the embassy, hours after Erdogan met with President Trump at the White House. If the men, however, are Turks connected to the Turkish diplomatic mission, they may be given diplomatic immunity, in which case the State Department can ask the Turkish government to waive it or simply expel the men from the U.S.
The two men arrested at the time of the altercation - Jalal Kheirabaoi, 42, of Fairfax, Virginia and Ayten Necmi, 49, of Woodside, New York - were charged with simple assault.
The arrests come almost a month after members of visiting Turkish President Tayip Recepp Erdogan's security team, along with pro-Erdogan demonstrators, brutally attacked pro-Kurdish protesters outside the residence of the Turkish Ambassador.
It was not clear if the men were supporters of Erdogan, part of his security detail or protesters. Police are expected to release photos of the other 8 possible suspects and appeal to the public for information on their identities, the official said.
A USA official says police in Washington will announce charges against 12 Turkish security agents related to violence that happened when Turkey's president visited last month. The NATO allies have publicly clashed over a U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurdish rebels fighting the Islamic State group in Syria. Turkey considers the fighters to be an extension the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey known as the PKK, and claims without evidence that protesters who showed up during Erdogan's visit to Washington last week were themselves associated with the group.
A video posted online has shown men in dark suits chasing anti-government protesters and punching and kicking them as police intervened. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.
A State Department official told Fox News they had to wait for these charges before they could "kick them out of the country". In all, nine people were hurt. Officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington could not be reached Wednesday evening.
On May 18, the Turkish foreign minister called for the removal of the U.S. envoy in Turkey, claiming he is sympathetic to Kurdish Syrians. Turkey also alleged that terrorist sympathizers were among the demonstrators who had gathered on Embassy Row.
David Porter in Newark contributed to this report.