Turkey’s Erdoğan slams US decision to charge his bodyguards for Washington brawl

Turkey’s autocratic 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 securitypersonnel.

“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.

Also, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador to Ankara John Bass on Thursday after Washington issued an arrest warrant for 12 bodyguards of President Erdoğan. The ministry called the decision “wrong and partial” as local authorities had not taken necessary precautions around the embassy during the brawl.

“It has been conveyed to the Ambassador that this decision taken by US authorities is wrong, biased and lacks legal basis; that the brawl in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence was caused by the failure of local security authorities to take necessary measures; that this incident would not have occurred if the US authorities had taken the usual measures they take in similar high level visits and therefore that Turkish citizens cannot be held responsible for the incident that took place,” the ministry statement read.

According to the ministry statement, it was stressed that the decision was unacceptable and it clearly did not come as a result of an impartial and independent investigation. “The Ambassador of the USA in Ankara has also been informed that the tolerance of the US authorities towards the so-called protesters to approach as close as a few meters to the Turkish Residence with flags and symbols of terrorist organization and their assault to innocent citizens, as well as the lack of any action taken against the US security personnel who assaulted the security guards of our Minister in front of the Chancery run counter to any understanding of justice,” it 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 12, 2017

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