Two arrested over brawl during Turkish leader's US visit

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 15, 2017

Two men were arrested at the time, and the US State Department registered concern to Turkey in the "strongest possible terms". The Turkish Embassy claimed the demonstrators were "aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president".

US officials had strongly criticized the Turkish government after Erdogan's security forces for the violence, and the State Department summoned Turkey's ambassador to the complain.

"Now that charges have been filed, the Department will weigh additional actions for the named individuals, as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations", the spokesperson said.

It could not immediately be determined whether the two men arrested Wednesday sided with Erdogan or the protesters.

A few days after the incident, a Voice of America Turkey video surfaced online of Erdogan coolly watching the fight from the front of the embassy, with the footage even suggesting that Erdogan personally ordered his bodyguards to attack.

The U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly to the matter and demanded anonymity, said DC police had identified 34 of 42 people who were involved in the fight, and are seeking their arrests. He previously claimed on Facebook that protesters ripped his shirt open and threw bottles at him, and he responded by punching and pushing protesters. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face. A Washington officer then escorted him back across the street. "I would never kick a woman", he wrote.

A third man, Eyup Yildirim, is seen on video telling police he is a cousin of Alpkenan Dereci. A presidential guard said "Servet says attack", according to Ferad; Servet Erkan was one of Erdogan's bodyguards who participated in the brawl, according to TheDC. Prosecutors told the judge Yildirim had been arrested twice in the late 90s on simple assault charges, but the charges were later dismissed.

Here's a video of the violence.

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