Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Arrest warrants out for Turkish agents, others in DC melee

Arrest warrants out for Turkish agents, others in DC melee

The melee outside the Turkish ambassador's residence during Erdogan's visit to the United States last month strained U.S.

Four have been arrested; the remainder are at large.

As Erdogan arrived at the Turkish ambassador's residence following the White House meeting, his security staff began beating protesters, injuring nine. "We voted for him and we want him to be our president", Dereci told the broadcaster at the time.

Ankara told the USA ambassador that the decision to issue the warrants was "wrong" and "unacceptable". Eleven people were injured and nine were hospitalized, as Erdogan watched from his Mercedes-Benz.

Two men were arrested at the time and two more were picked up on Wednesday.

"If they [the security agents] were to come back to the United States, they would have [outstanding] warrants", said spokesperson Heather Nauert, who read a statement issued earlier by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The Turkish Embassy claimed the demonstrators were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president". Two more are Canadian, the D.C. police chief said.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser condemned the attack strongly, saying it violated US Constitution's first amendment right to peaceful protest.

"The charges filed against the 12 Turkish security officials show that the USA does not tolerate individuals who use intimidation and violence to stifle freedom of speech", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a briefing on Thursday.

Two additional men, Jalal Kheirabaoi of Virginia and Ayten Necmi of NY, were arrested and charged immediately following the attack. The State Department tells ABC News they are considering taking additional action against those individuals overseas, which could mean barring future entry or revoking visas.

The charges pose a test for the strategically important relationship between the USA and Turkey. He described the attack as "the type of offence that is extreme in nature".

At a news conference Thursday, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said there was no indication the protesters were part of a terrorist group, according to the Associated Press.

The Turkish Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey summoned the U.S. Ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, to the Foreign Office on Thursday after American authorities issued arrest warrants for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bodyguards, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Video of the protest showed security guards and some Erdogan supporters attacking a small group of protesters with their fists and feet.

In one clip, the suit-clad guards can be seen repeatedly kicking a woman as she lay on a sidewalk.

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