Two men sentenced to one year over Erdogan brawl in Washington

#Crime

Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim plead guilty to felony assault for attacking anti-Erdogan protesters

Prosecutors have dismissed charges against 11 members of Erdogan's security team (AFP)
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Friday 6 April 2018 10:46 UTC
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Two men who assaulted protesters during a 2017 visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington were sentenced to a year and a day in jail on Thursday, authorities said.

Sinan Narin, 46, of McLean, Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, 51, of Manchester, New Jersey, had pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a street brawl outside the Turkish ambassador's residence that included members of Erdogan's security detail. They are both US citizens.

The May 2017 melee was condemned by US and Washington city officials and strained relations between Turkey and the United States.

Narin and Yildirim will undergo three years of supervised release once their sentences are completed.

They pleaded guilty in December to one count of felony assault for attacking anti-Erdogan protesters during the president's visit.

Authorities have said that the two suspects are not associated with Turkish security personnel.

Yildirim kicked a 61-year-old protester in the head and face, causing the man to suffer a concussion and memory loss, according to the sentencing memorandum, while Narin kicked a woman who had fallen, briefly knocking her out.

Federal prosecutors have dismissed charges against 11 of 15 members of Erdogan's security team who were indicted over the brawl. Assault charges are pending against two Canadian citizens.

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Ankara had slammed the initial indictments in September 2017.

"This is a complete scandal. It is a scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States," Erdogan told reporters then.

Turkey blamed the brawl on demonstrators that it said are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, while Washington's police chief referred to it as a "brutal attack" on peaceful protesters.

Turkey has been waging a war for decades against the banned party, also known as the PKK, in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast.