US Authorities to Charge Turkish Security Guards Over Brutal Attack on Protesters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Thursday a decision by USA authorities to issue arrest warrants for 12 members of his security detail, accused of assaulting protesters during a brawl in Washington. Authorities also charged four other men - two Americans and two Canadians - for their roles in the chaotic skirmish. Police said they have been working closely over the past several weeks with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Secret Service pouring over video clips and trying to decide how to proceed.

Sinan Narin of Virginia was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of assault for allegedly kicking a protestor, who lost consciousness during the attack.

Erdogan's security detail returned with him to Turkey after his visit, so it is unclear if any will face legal repercussions in the United States. And previous year, the police and members of Mr Erdogan's security team clashed with demonstrators outside the Brookings Institution in Washington.

It was not immediately clear whether the State Department would ask the Turkish government to extradite them to the U.S.to answer the charges.

"When you have folks that are peacefully protesting here in Washington, D.C., which is a place where we welcome peaceful protests, and they're attacked for no reason, we think it's extremely important", the police chief said. Erdogan's security forcibly removed a number of protesters from a venue in Ecuador in February, 2016.

Some additional suspects still have not been identified, the police chief said.

Days after the incident, video emerged from the Voice of America news agency that also appeared to show Erdogan watching over as the fight unfolded.

"The State Department should double down on efforts to help bring these individuals to justice", he said in a statement, including rejecting a proposed $1.2 million sale of semi-automatic handguns and ammunition to Turkish security forces.

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The daytime brawl outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in the city on May 16 left nine protesters injured and strained U.S.

"The police did the best they could under the circumstances", Newsham said.

Four people already have been charged in connection with the incident, which occurred during Erdogan's visit to the US capital.

Turkey's USA embassy alleged the demonstrators were associated with the PKK, which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency against Turkey and is considered a terrorist group by the United States.

The charges come nearly a month after Erdogan's guards made global headlines when cell phones and video cameras caught the men kicking, choking, and shoving protesters on Washington's Sheridan Circle. Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on the pavement.

But the following week the Turkish government summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest "aggressive behavior" by U.S. security personnel and "security lapses" in the incident.

Media reported that law enforcement officials plan to announce charges on June 15 against a dozen members of the Turkish president's security detail. The attack occurred during Erdogan's visit to Washington to meet with President Trump, who has spoken favorably of Erdogan's increasingly undemocratic government.

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

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