Turkey says US indictment against security personnel 'biased'

Laura Christensen
August 31, 2017

U.S. authorities have indicted 19 people, including 15 Turkish security officials, for attacking peaceful protesters who rallied against the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington DC in May.

NINETEEN people, including 15 of the Turkish President's bodyguards, have been charged over the May 16 beatings of peaceful protesters in Washington DC.

The goons are accused of conspiring to attack Armenian and Kurdish demonstrators - which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison - as well as assaulting USA law enforcement who tried to intervene. Many were indicted on additional charges.

16 of those charged had previously been indicted on June 13, with an additional 3, all Turkish security, added on Tuesday.

All but two of the 19 remain at large.

Of the other 17, two are Canadians, and the rest are Turkish nationals. It showed that Erdogan, returning to the embassy after his White House meetings, spoke briefly with members of his armed security detail; moments later, the bodyguards broke through a police line and violently charged the protesters. A protester with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.

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After police officers struggled to protect the protesters and ordered the men in suits to retreat, several of the men dodged the officers and ran into the park to continue the attacks. Two other men were arrested at the scene - one for aggravated assault and the other for assaulting a police officer. "Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest", the State Department said in a statement.

Turkey has repeatedly told US officials that security outside the ambassador's home was negligent and didn't ensure the safety of Erdogan's entourage amid sympathizers of an outlawed Kurdish militant group, according to the statement. The overreaction of his "security guards" ended up looking much worse than any anti-Erdogan demonstration ever could.

The Turkish Embassy claimed the demonstrators were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

In June, Erdogan also hit back at the allegations, accusing USA police of having allowed "terrorists" to protest "50 metres from me" during his United States visit.

Following the brawl, the Turkish Embassy in DC accused the protesters of belonging to groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the US.

Other reports by My Hot News

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