Authorities in Washington, D.C. are planning to announce charges against 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail for viciously assaulting protesters in a May 16 incident in front of the Turkish embassy. Two U.S. officials confirmed the imminent announcement to The New York Times.
This comes after policymakers from both sides of the aisle demanded justice for what they saw as a blatant assault on American democracy and free speech.
During the May 16 brawl, Erdogan’s personal bodyguards pummeled, punched, and kicked peaceful protesters decrying the Turkish regime’s myriad of abuses at home. Most of the victims were of Kurdish, Armenian and Yazidi descent, the same groups victimized by Erdogan’s brutal crackdown against dissidents, political opponents, and ethnic minorities in Turkey.
As The Daily Wire reported, video evidence appeared to show the Turkish president personally ordering the attack on the protesters assembled on U.S. soil. In the video, Erdogan is shown stepping out of his tinted black Mercedes-Benz parked at the residence of the Turkish ambassador, and calmly watching as his bodyguards step outside of the embassy compound and enter U.S. soil to choke women, shove police, and punch young men.
“Authorities have already charged several others, including two Americans and two Canadians, with taking part in the violent skirmish,” reports The Times. “The Washington police have been investigating the May 16 incident along with the State Department and the Secret Service. The police planned to announce the charges at a news conference on Thursday morning, according to the two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the charges before they were made public.”
Police have already confirmed the identities of two Americans (not directly connected with Erdogan’s security detail) charged with criminal offenses during the brawl that pitted nationalist Turks and Turkish security forces against ethnic minorities protesting the regime.
“Washington police officials confirmed that the two Americans are Sinan Narin, of Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, of New Jersey. Mr. Narin was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault. Mr. Yildirim, who can be seen on video repeatedly kicking a protester, was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor assault count. The two have been arrested,” notes The Times.
In late May, The Daily Wire noted that one of Yildirim’s victims had ID’d her attacker.
“Despite being viciously kicked by a mob of Turkish men while lying on the pavement, anti-Erdogan protester Lucy Usoyan managed to catch a glimpse of one of her main attackers,” reported The Daily Wire’s Michael Qazvini. “It turns out he owns a construction business in New Jersey called Care Construction. “According to Usoyan, 50-year-old Erdogan regime supporter Eyup Yildirim joined Turkish security forces in barbarically punching and kicking peaceful protesters.”
“Yildirim, the owner of a construction company in New Jersey, was one of the most visible figures spotted in videos recorded of last week’s attack,” added The Daily Caller.
Police haven’t identified the members of Erdogan’s security detail that will face criminal charges.
This is the boldest step taken yet by U.S. authorities since the May 16 incident.
Last month, the State Department issued a strong statement condemning the attack and questioning the Turkish government’s involvement.
The U.S. relayed its concerns to Ankara “in the strongest possible terms,” even summoning the Turkish ambassador to voice outrage over the incident.
“Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the statement read, highlighting Turkey’s gross violation of free speech rights in the United States and alluding to the Erdogan government’s purge campaign against political opposition members and dissidents in Turkey.
At the time, the Turkish embassy in D.C. released a defiant and unapologetic letter blaming the victims of the attack.