Two arrested over brawl during Turkish leader’s visit to US

A man is kicked in the face by Erdogan's bodyguards as he lies on the floor outside the Turkish ambassador's residence, 16 May 2017, (VOA Turkish)

Two men have been arrested in connection with a brawl in May outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence between protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the United States, Washington, D.C. police said on Wednesday.

The men, Sinan Narin of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey, face assault charges stemming from the incident, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement.

“Eyup Yildirim… was one of the most visible figures spotted in videos recorded of last month’s attack,” the US-based Turkish media outlet Washington Hatti news site stated. “Aside from kicking protesters, Eyup Yildirim also was screaming and yelling at protesters.”

Additional arrests are expected in upcoming days, the report claimed, citing unnamed sources.

The Washington Hatti report identified Yildırim as the owner of a construction company in New Jersey, indicating that at least some of the purported bodyguards are living in the United States.

11 protesters were injured during the 16 May 16, which took place after President Recep Erdogan’s meeting with President Donald Trump.

Most of the injured were US citizens protesting Turkey’s Middle East policies and Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish news outlets, civil servants, and academics following a failed July 2016 coup.

The attack on protesters was widely blamed on Erdogan’s bodyguards, some of whom were detained but later released because they had traveled to Washington with Erdogan and therefore had diplomatic immunity.

A State Department official told Sputnik on 18 May that the United States found the behavior of the Turkish guards “deeply disturbing” and a thorough investigation to hold the culprits accountable was of “upmost importance.”

On 7 June, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution calling for the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice regardless of diplomatic immunity.