Arrest warrants issued for Turkish agents, others in DC melee

16 June 2017, 03:59 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Halil Mutlu cousin of Recep Erdogan and Eyup Yildirim

Halil Mutlu cousin of Recep Erdogan and Eyup Yildirim

"It has been conveyed to the ambassador that this decision taken by USA authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis", the ministry said in a statement on Thursday, blaming local authorities for failing to take proper security measures with regards to the "so-called protesters".

In addition to the 12 Turkish security officers and police, prosecutors also announced felony assault charges against two Americans and two Canadians in connection with the violence.

"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.

Yildirim is in custody after an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Newark, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey said by phone.

Arrest warrants for the members of Erdogan's security detail have been issued, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said.

However, she did note that their diplomatic immunity lapsed when they left the country, and they would be subject to arrest if they returned to the United States.

Turkey on Thursday condemned a decision by USA authorities to issue arrest warrants to some members of President Tayyip Erdogan's security detail over a brawl that erupted in Washington last month, saying it "lacked legal basis".

Newsham said today that MPD now has no information of probable cause to arrest Erdogan.

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Video of Turkish security personnel appearing to punch, kick and club demonstrators in Washington, D.C., went viral and sparked outrage last month. In another, they kick a different protester lying on the ground with a bullhorn. "It was very much unexpected".

At the time, two men were arrested and charged with simple assault.

Yildirim, a 50-year-old construction company owner from New Jersey, faces charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault. He said photos of additional suspects will be released later in the day.

The State Department also condemned the attacks.

The ministry says, "Our citizens can not be held responsible", and argues the conflict would not have occurred if customary precautions for high-level meetings had been taken.

Neither the State Department nor the Turkish Embassy have commented on the new wave of arrests as of Thursday afternoon. Any decisions about seeking extradition will be up to the State Department. "Our resolve to defend the First Amendment and condemn suppression is stronger than ever".

Images of agents of a foreign government running violently amok in a leafy neighbourhood of the USA capital caused outrage and demands for a strong reaction. We host demonstrations month to month.



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