Arrest warrants out for Turkish agents, others in DC melee

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.

Speaking at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Ankara, Erdogan asked, "What kind of a law is this?".

"Why would I bring my guards with me to the United States, if not to protect me?" he said in a speech in Ankara, adding that U.S. police "did nothing".

Erdogan said the protesters were members of an outlawed armed Kurdish group and the USA police failed to act. The statement asserted that the arrest warrants were "wrong, biased" and without legal basis.

"This decision taken by USA authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis", Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, blaming local security authorities for failing to prevent the fight.

It is unlikely that Turkey would extradite the men to the United States.

Two other suspects, whose charges were announced Thursday alongside the Turkish security personnel, are Canadian citizens, Newsham said.

Video of the startling violence, widely circulated on social media, showed security guards pummeling a group of protesters with fists and feet. Police displayed photos at the news conference of those sought, urging the public to help find some still unidentified. Turkish citizens were moved from the area by the police, but PKK sympathizers stayed where they were. Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein also wrote a letter to Erdogan after the incident, charging that Turkish guards had carried out a "blatant violation" of the right to freedom of assembly by attacking "peaceful protesters". Several people were injured in a brawl during Erdogan's visit to the U.S.

Washington police are leading the investigation, in cooperation with federal law enforcement and the U.S. State Department.

United States officials have not clarified as to how they expect to detain individuals charged who are now in Turkey.

The ministry also noted that such an incident would not have occurred had USA authorities taken the proper measures they take during similar high level visits.

"We are hopeful that those responsible will do their part and present themselves to answer to these charges", Newsham said. "It's just something we're not going to tolerate".

Two additional men, Jalal Kheirabaoi of Virginia and Ayten Necmi of NY, were arrested and charged immediately following the attack. A man holding a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.

East Rutherford resident Ceren Borazan on May 24, 2017 tells Rep. Bill Pascrell about her being thrown to the ground and kicked by security guards protecting Turkey President Recep Erdogan during a May 16 protest outside the Turkish embassy.

  • Leroy Wright