Erdoğan slams US decision to charge his bodyguards for Washington brawl

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his meeting with a delegation from Turkish General Command of Gendarmerie marking the 178th Foundation Anniversary of Gendarmerie at Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on June 14, 2017. AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed a recent decision by US authorities to announce criminal charges against 12 members of Erdoğan’s security detail for attacking protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on May 16.

Speaking during an iftar dinner on Thursday night at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Erdoğan said he would initiate a political and legal struggle against the arrest warrants for his security personnel.

They have issued arrest warrants for my security detail. What kind of a law is this, what kind of a judiciary is this? We will have political and legal struggle [against the decision],he said.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that arrest warrants have been issued and the suspects, all believed to be in Turkey, are now wanted in the United States, although law enforcement and legal experts have said that bringing the attackers to justice could be difficult since Turkey is unlikely to extradite the suspects or make them available for interviews.

Two Turkish men resident in the United States were arrested by US Marshals for their role in the beating of protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., last month, according to a report by The Daily Caller.

According to the report, the DC Metropolitan Police identified the two men as Eyüp Yıldırım and Sinan Narin. Yıldırım, a construction company owner from New Jersey, faces charges of bodily injury and aggravated assault. Narin, from Virginia, is facing charges of aggravated assault.

The State Department confirmed in a statement to The Daily Caller that the arrests had been made, saying: “Now that charges have been filed, the Department will weigh additional actions for the named individuals, as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations. Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges.”

The demonstrators had gathered to protest the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was in the capital for a meeting with Donald Trump. When Erdoğan later arrived at the ambassadorial residence, his security detail, along with supporters of the Turkish president, was captured in video footage brutally attacking the group of demonstrators. Nine people were injured in the melee.

Erdoğan was also seen in the footage watching his bodyguards assault the protesters.

The Turkish Embassy at the time claimed that Erdoğan’s bodyguards were acting in self-defense and that the protesters were affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, allegations denied by the demonstrators.

The violent confrontation sparked an outcry from members of the US Congress and the passage of a resolution demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

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