Arrest warrants out for Turkish agents following violence in Washington

Marsha Scott
June 16, 2017

Relations were severely strained even before the melee, which came as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the Turkish ambassador's residence after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

The showdown between Erdogan's guards and the protesters came as tensions between the U.S. and Turkey continued to rise over America's backing of the Syrian Kurdish rebels.

Two Canadians, at least one a resident of Toronto, have been charged in the beating of peaceful protesters outside the Washington, D.C. residence of the Turkish ambassador to the United States. US officials have said law-abiding Americans were affected.

Erdogan's security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit, so it was unclear if any would face any immediate USA legal repercussions.

The incident was caught on camera and caused a diplomatic crisis, with Turkey and the USA summoning each other's ambassadors and members of Congress expressing outrage.

A video posted online has shown men in dark suits chasing anti-government protesters and punching and kicking them as police intervened. Another wrenched a woman's neck and threw her to the ground.

Nine people were injured in the skirmish.

Some critics were angry police did not make more arrests on the spot; the State Department ordered a federal police agency to release two presidential guards taken into custody saying they had diplomatic immunity.

Ellialti has also been charged with aggravated assault while Dereci faces a charge of misdemeanor assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner.

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Public defender David Holman sought home confinement, arguing that Yildirim wasn't a flight risk and had never been convicted of anything before.

Narin and Yildirim were both participants in the protests, according to a USA official familiar with the case. Police and other officials say various members of visiting Erdogan's security team, some of them armed, attacked a group protesting his regime as police struggled to restore order and bystanders recorded with phones. With two men arrested on Wednesday and two arrested immediately following the incident, the total number facing charges is now 18. Moments after one of Erdogan's bodyguards briefly spoke to someone in the vehicle, multiple members of the bodyguard team charged across the street, brushed past overwhelmed police officers and began punching, kicking and choking protesters.

The announcement at a news conference by the city's mayor and police chief follows a almost monthlong investigation in which police scrutinized video of protesters being kicked and hit near the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington.

Upon learning of the charges, Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned John Bass, the USA ambassador to Turkey, to issue a protest.

It is highly unlikely that Turkey would extradite the men to the United States to face the charges, but they do face the possibility of arrest should they ever try to re-enter the country.

Newsham said the warrants were issued with the help of the state department, the U.S. secret service and the USA attorney's office in DC.

A wanted poster is displayed at a news conference in Washington, D.C., June 15, 2017, during an announcement about arrest warrants in the May 16, 2017, altercation outside the Turkish Embassy.

"We do not care particularly what your views are, what you support or what you do not support", he added.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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