Police arrest two over US Turkish embassy brawl

#Crime

Videos show one suspect kicking protesters during Erdogan's visit to Washington, according to report

Turkish embassy said security guards were acting in 'self-defence' against protesters (Reuters)
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Thursday 15 June 2017 9:20 UTC
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Two Turkish American men have been arrested for attacking protesters outside the Turkish Embassy during President Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the United States in May, Washington, DC police said on Wednesday.

The men, Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey, face assault charges stemming from the incident, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement.

Washington Hatti, a DC-based Turkish news website, identified Yildirim as the owner of a construction company in New Jersey. It said the suspect was kicking protesters who were already on the ground, according to videos posted on social media.

According to a US official, DC police were expected to charge 12 Turkish security agents as well. 

The US had voiced "strongest possible" concern to Turkey over the street brawl that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel in May, injuring 11 people.

Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning Turkey for the brawl.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan urged Turkey to apologise for the incident.

“The blame for this assault lies with the Turkish government alone,” he said in a statement on 6 June.

Footage of the brawl showed Erdogan supporters and security personnel attacking and kicking protesters. One video showed the Turkish president, surrounded by bodyguards, watching the scene by his car as the chaos unfolded.

The Turkish embassy in Washington defended Erdogan’s security guards after the incident. It accused the protesters of ties to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group, which it called a terrorist organisation. It said the demonstrators were "aggressively provoking" Turkish Americans who had assembled to greet Erdogan.

"The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defence and one of them was seriously injured," the embassy said in a statement on 17 May. "The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration. We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur."