Turkish FM visits Turks jailed over attack on protesters in DC

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visits jailed Turkish citizens Sinan Narin and Eyüp Yıldırım in the US.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Saturday visited two Turks who were arrested for an attack on protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington, D.C., while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was visiting the residence.

“We have visited our brothers Sinan Narin and Eyüp Yıldırım, who are being tried in Washington. We conveyed the love and greetings of the nation,” Çavuşoğlu tweeted on Saturday, attaching two photos taken during the visit.

Narin and Yıldırım, who had pretrial proceedings on June 16 and June 30, respectively, will appear in court on Oct. 10.

Yıldırım has been transferred to a facility that has better conditions, and lawyers have been trying to get Narin moved to the same facility, Turkish Foreign Ministry sources told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Narin and Yıldırım have received frequent visits from their lawyers and consular officials since their detention, the same sources added.

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 officers, 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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