DC police to charge 12 Turkish security agents

Members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security detail are shown attacking peaceful protesters during Erdogan's trip to Washington in May

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has called in the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, John Bass, for talks after USA authorities issued arrest warrants for a dozen official Turkish security guards involved in a brawl with protesters in Washington last month.

The charges come nearly a month after Erdogan's guards made global headlines when cell phones and video cameras caught the men kicking, choking, and shoving protesters on Washington's Sheridan Circle.

Washington police said in a brief statement that Sinan Narin of Virginia was accused of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanour assault.

Diplomatic security officers protecting the delegation also temporarily detained two members of the Turkish forces who had assaulted them, before it was determined that the guards had diplomatic status and were freed. It said Eyup Yildirim had been arrested in New Jersey on charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault.

Warrants were also issued for two Canadian citizens, he said.

The two men attended a pro-Erdogan event outside Toronto's Turkish consulate 11 months ago Thursday in response to an anti-Erdogan coup.

Twelve people were injured in the violent confrontation that took place outside the Turkish ambassador's residence on Sheridan Circle.

The newspaper said the men had travelled to Washington to support the Turkish president, but it was unclear if they had a formal connection to his security detail.

Neither has been arrested yet; the police described them as "wanted".

The Turkish embassy claims the bodyguards were acting in self-defense, accusing the protesters of being affiliated with a Turkish opposition group. They were among 18 charged over the May 16 incident. They are among the most likely to face actual consequences. Sources tell The New York Times that the guards will face several felony and misdemeanor counts. The civilians involved enjoy no such political protection.

Holman declined to comment to a reporter, as is office policy. He did not immediately respond to a new request left with a colleague at his company on Thursday.

"Rarely in my 28 years of policing have I seen what happened in Sheridan Circle", Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a press conference announcing the charges.

"This is the type of offense that is extreme in nature". Two other men have previously been charged. However, the city's police chief said investigators had insufficient evidence to charge Erdogan in what he characterized as a "pretty brutal" attack.

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

He called on those who have not been arrested to travel to the USA and present themselves.

While America views free speech and protest as an integral part of its democracy, the same can not be said for Turkey.

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