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Turkey protests U.S. indictment charging Erdogan's security

31 August 2017

A total 19 people - including 15 personal bodyguards to Turkey's president - have been charged for the May 16 beatdown of several peaceful protesters in Washington D.C., according to a new indictment.

Witnesses to the scuffle outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., in May claimed that members of Erdogan's security detail attacked the demonstrators.

Sixteen of the defendants had already been charged June 13 but Tuesday's indictment added three new defendants, all Turkish security officials.

Newsham called on the suspects to turn themselves in, but Erdogan's team had already returned to Turkey and it remains unclear if they will return to the U.S.to answer the charges. Nine people were injured in the melee and two were arrested.

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All 19 are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence with an enhancement for a bias crime, though many face additional charges including assault with a risky weapon and assault with significant bodily injury. The rest remain at large. Some are also facing assault charges, including simple assault, assault with a unsafe weapon, or both. It showed that Erdogan, returning to the embassy after his White House meetings, spoke briefly with members of his armed security detail; moments later, the bodyguards broke through a police line and violently charged the protesters.

The indictments, announced Tuesday, charge the defendants with attacking peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence. "For far too long, the US has succumbed to Erdogan's intimidation tactics, remaining complicit in Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide; refusing to clearly condemn the growing repression against the Kurdish community; and turning a blind eye to the crackdown on free speech within their own borders".

In a statement the ministry said that it protests the decision "in the strongest terms", and has conveyed its disapproval to the American ambassador. The charge is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison and bias enhancement could lead to longer sentences, the statement said. ".indictment. -.aug.29, .2017.pdf" target="_blank">indictment also recognized that the attackers "significantly outnumbered" the anti-Erdogan protesters and "blatantly ignored American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".

Turkey protests U.S. indictment charging Erdogan's security