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Two Canadians among those sought over DC attack on Turkey protesters
16 June 2017, 06:15 | Floyd Cook
Two Canadians are among more than a dozen people sought in connection with a violent attack on protesters during an official visit by Turkey's president to the USA capital last month.
Eighteen people have now been charged in the incident, including two Canadians and four Americans.
Newsham said police worked with the U.S. State Department and the Secret Service to identify the suspects. Narin is charged with felony aggravated assault and a misdemeanor threat charge, and Yildirim faces misdemeanor charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault and a misdemeanor threat charge. Ellialti also faces a charge of felony aggravated assault.
The DC police are expected to say that seven men are being charged for felonies, and another five for misdemeanors. Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to say what actions might be taken, but the USA could seek the extradition of the Turkish suspects or bar them from entering the United States.
"In the United States, and particularly in the District of Columbia, we hold our ability to peacefully protest as a sacred right", Newsham said.
Two additional men, Jalal Kheirabaoi of Virginia and Ayten Necmi of NY, were arrested and charged immediately following the attack. Voice of America's Turkish service released video showing the Turkish president observing from inside a auto while the Turkish security team clashed with the protesters. Officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington declined to comment Thursday.
Coming nearly a month after the incident, the charges are the most significant retaliatory step taken to date by USA authorities, who have fumed privately and publicly over what they see as a highly offensive attack on free speech - not to mention United States law enforcement.
A Washington police spokesman described the assault as a "brutal attack on a peaceful protest" that left 11 people were hurt, nine of them badly enough to receive hospital treatment.
Addressing a question whether law enforcement believes that Mr. Erdogan ordered the attacks, the police chief said they didn't have enough evidence at the moment to bring up charges.
Upon learning of the charges, Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned John Bass, the US ambassador to Turkey, to issue a protest.
"If they attempt to enter the USA, they will be arrested", Newsham said, calling on the suspects to turn themselves in. Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on the pavement.
The Turkish bodyguards assaulted the demonstrators shortly after President Erdoğan arrived at his ambassador's residence in the US capital.
The incident has certainly raised tensions with Turkey, and American officials may continue to be disappointed with their attacks on protesters.
Two men have been arrested over a brawl in Washington DC between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security personnel, his supporters and protesters, according to a statement by Washington police on Wednesday.
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