Turkish guards indicted in United States for attacking pro-Kurdish protesters

A total of 19 people, including 15 identified as Turkish security officials, were indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in the USA capital for attacking protesters in May 2017 during a US visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protesters were outside the Turkish ambassador's Washington D.C. home during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit with President Trump when the bodyguards began savagely punching and kicking them in broad daylight.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced indictments against 19 people with ties to Turkey's government who are accused of assaulting protesters near the Turkish embassy in Washington earlier this year.

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Two were arrested in June and face court next week but 17 are at large and some have returned to Turkey with Mr Erdogan. Video footage later emerged showing that the Turkish president witnessed the violence, which injured at least nine people.

On the day of the violence, police detained two members of Erdogan's security detail but released them shortly afterward. "For far too long, the US has succumbed to Erdogan's intimidation tactics, remaining complicit in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide; refusing to clearly condemn the growing repression against the Kurdish community; and turning a blind eye to the crackdown on free speech within their own borders". The head of the president's security detail stepped in, followed by Turkish citizens who were there to see their president. Some are also facing assault charges, including simple assault, assault with a risky weapon, or both.

"The attack, by "pro-Erdogan civilian supporters, Turkish security personnel, and staff members from the Turkish diplomatic delegation" was "based on the actual or perceived ethnicity and political affiliation" of the victims," the document reads.

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President Erdogan himself criticised the initial indictment decisions in June, accusing United States police of "terrorists" to protest "50 metres from me".

Video from the incident shows Erdogan supporters and his guards attacking Kurdish and Armenian protesters.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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In a statement the ministry said that it protests the decision "in the strongest terms", and has conveyed its disapproval to the American ambassador. It also charges that they "blatantly ignored American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".


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