June 15 (UPI) —
Twelve members of the Turkish president’s security force are expected to face charges in Washington, D.C. for attacking protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence last month.
Although the Washington police have arrest warrants for the twelve Turkish bodyguards, the suspects have by now all returned to Turkey. But further action could be taken by the State Department.
“Now that charges have been filed, the Department will weigh additional actions for the named individuals, as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations,” said a senior State Department official. “Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges.”
Two Americans have already been charged for participating in the assault. Sinan Narin, of Virginia, was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey, was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor assault count.
The charges result from a May 16 attack that was caught on video and showed Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s bodyguards punching and kicking Armenian and Kurdish protesters who oppose the president.
That video soon went viral and the incident has been under investigation by the Washington police, the State Department and the Secret Service.
“We witnessed what appeared to be a brutal attack on peaceful protesters,” Peter Newsham, chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, said the day after the attack.
Two protesters have already been charged. One was charged with aggravated assault and the other was charged with assaulting an officer.
This isn’t the first time Erdogan’s bodyguards mixed it up with protesters.
During a speech Erdogan gave at the Brookings Institute on March 31, 2016, several D.C. journalists witnessed the Turkish president’s bodyguards assault protesters.
“Never seen anything like this: a female protester just tackled. DC cops are in the street trying to keep Turkish guards from hurting folks,” tweeted Yochi Dreazen, the foreign editor at Vox.