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Under threat of arrest in US, Erdoğan leaves his security detail at home

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Members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail who were indicted in the US for violently attacking protesters in Washington, D.C., in May have not accompanied the president on his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Sputnik reported on Sunday.

According to the report the bodyguards, including his chief security officer, Muhsin Köse, did not board the plane that carried Erdoğan from Istanbul to New York on Sunday.

On May 16 members of Erdoğan’s security detail engaged in a violent brawl with a group of protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington while Erdoğan was paying an official visit to the country. At least 11 protesters were injured.

Arrest warrants were issued in June for 16 people including 12 members of Erdoğan’s security detail for the attack.

In August, 19 people, including 15 of Erdoğan’s guards, were indicted for attacking people who were protesting the visit of Erdoğan and for committing a violent crime. Some of them also face charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

While 16 defendants were charged in June, three new defendants, all of whom are Turkish security officials, were added to the indictment.

Two defendants were arrested in June and the rest are at large. The police department also issued a wanted list for President Erdoğan’s bodyguards as criminal suspects for their attacks on protesters on May 16.

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on Sept. 8 sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requesting that he take steps to ensure that another violent incident involving Erdoğan’s security detail does not take place during Erdoğan’s visit to New York.

A US Senate committee also approved an endorsement to an appropriations bill that would block the US government from selling firearms to Erdoğan’s security detail.

Erdoğan slammed the US decision to issue arrest warrants for his bodyguards and said he would initiate a political and legal battle against the arrest warrants for his security personnel.

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