DC Police issue arrest warrants for Turkish agents following DC melee

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Sixteen people, including 12 Turkish agents, were charged on Thursday in the brawl that broke out in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit in May, police said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned USA envoy to Ankara, John Bass over the U.S.' decision to issue arrest warrants against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's security guards and some Turkish citizens after the incident which took place in Washington.

Newsham said the warrants were issued with the help of the state department, the U.S. secret service and the USA attorney's office in DC.

Mahmut Sami Ellialti and Ahmet Cengizham Dereci face charges of felony assault with significant bodily injury. The second man, Eyup Yildirim of New Jersey, faces two felony assault charges and a misdemeanour assault charge.

Seven Turkish agents would be charged with felonies and five agents would face misdemeanor charges, according to the AP.

Turkey's U.S. embassy alleged the demonstrators were associated with the PKK, which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency against Turkey and is considered a terrorist group by the United States.

"If they attempt to enter the United States, they will be arrested", Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said of the security officers charged in the case.

Turkish officials later claimed that the only reason the guards jumped in was because "police did not heed to Turkish demands to intervene".

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Investigators were able to identify the suspects using video footage, Newsham told reporters.

Video shot from another angle appears to show the Turkish president getting out of a limo, looking at the protesters and speaking to one of his bodyguards just prior to the attack. "We support them, we make sure that they are safe, but we also make sure that they follow our law", Bowser said at a press conference.

The May 16 skirmish, caught on video, left nine protesters injured outside the Turkish ambassador's residence and further strained ties at a time when the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are in sharp disagreement over policy in Syria.

Erdogan said the United States had no right to arrest his guards, who he said were protecting him from "terrorists".

Relations were severely strained even before the melee, which came as Erdogan arrived May 16 at the Turkish ambassador's residence after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

Two men from Canada have been charged with alleged assaults at a protest in Washington, D.C. last month that saw Turkish government security officials punch and kick protesters.

As The Two-Way has reported, "The demonstration was arranged by pro-Kurdish and Armenian groups protesting a range of Erdogan policies".

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey confirmed that Yildirim made his first appearance before a judge there on Wednesday. The statement went further yet, claiming that the incident would not have taken place had the US authorities taken the "usual" measures and as such, Turkish citizens could not be held to blame. "We commend the efforts of Mayor Bowser, Chief Newsham and all the law enforcement agencies involved in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and look forward to continuing to work with them to identify all involved". If any are still in the country, they could be expelled if Turkey refuses to waive diplomatic immunity.

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