Two men who pleaded guilty to assaulting protesters during a 2017 visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Washington were sentenced to a year and a day in jail on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing authorities.
Sinan Narin, 46, of McLean, Virginia, and Eyüp Yıldırım, 51, of Manchester, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a street brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence that included members of Erdoğan’s security detail. Narin and Yıldırım are both US citizens.
Demonstrators protesting the policies of President Erdoğan, who was visiting Washington for a White House meeting with Donald Trump, were countered by agitated supporters of the Turkish head of state and subsequently attacked by the Turkish president’s bodyguards, footage of the incident showed. Another video clip showed Erdoğan apparently giving the order for his security detail to attack the protesters and watching it unfold outside the ambassador’s residence on Sheridan Circle.
At least nine protesters were injured in the altercation as well as one police officer and two members of the Secret Service.
The May 2017 melee was condemned by US and Washington city officials and strained relations between Turkey and the United States.
Narin and Yıldırım were sentenced to 12 months and a day in jail, with credit for time served after they were arrested in June, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office said in an email.
They also will undergo three years of supervised release once their sentences are completed.
Narin and Yıldırım pleaded guilty in December to one count of felony assault for attacking anti-Erdogan protesters during the president’s visit.
Yıldırım kicked a 61-year-old protester in the head and face, causing the man to suffer a concussion and memory loss, according to the sentencing memorandum, while Narin kicked a woman who had fallen, briefly knocking her out.
Federal prosecutors have dismissed charges against 11 of 15 members of Erdoğan’s security team who were indicted over the brawl. Assault charges are pending against two Canadian citizens.
Turkey blamed the melee on demonstrators linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), while Washington’s police chief referred to it as a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters.
Turkey has been waging a war for decades against the PKK in the country’s mainly Kurdish Southeast.