US charges President Erdogan’s Washington security team with assault
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Washington prosecutors have charged a dozen Turkish security and police officers with assault after an attack on protesters during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visit to the US capital last month, officials said on Thursday.
The daytime brawl outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in the city on May 16 left nine protesters injured and strained US-Turkish relations.
A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as Washington police struggled to intervene.
"I condemn this attack," Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters at a news conference announcing the charges. "It was an affront to our values."
Arrest warrants for the members of Erdogan's security detail have been issued, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said.
"If they attempt to enter the United States, they will be arrested," he said.
Newsham said there was no probable cause to arrest Erdogan, who watched the confrontation unfold from a nearby car.
A total of 18 people have been charged in the incident. They include two Canadians and four Americans, according to prosecutors.
The Turkish leader on Thursday condemned the decision by US authorities.
"We will fight politically and judicially against the warrants”, Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, accusing the US police of allowing a "terrorists" protest targeting him to take place while he visited the White House last month.
Two men were arrested on Wednesday. Sinan Narin of Virginia faces a charge of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey faces two charges of felony assault and a misdemeanor assault charge.
Some additional suspects still have not been identified, the police chief said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)