31 August, 2017
A grand jury on Tuesday indicted 19 people, 15 of which were Turkish security officials, in connection with the incident in Washington between protesters and Erdoğan's security personnel.
Eleven people were hurt in what Washington's police chief described as a brutal attack on peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence during Erdogan's visit.
16 of those charged had previously been indicted on June 13, with an additional 3, all Turkish security, added on Tuesday. Two of the defendants were arrested in June and face an initial court hearing on September 7. However, they could end up being threatened with arrest if they return to the U.S. If any are still in the country, they could be expelled if Turkey refuses to waive diplomatic immunity.
All have been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony that carries up to 15 years in prison, with a hate crime enhancement that could multiply a sentence by 1.5 times.
Two Turkish bodyguards were briefly detained after the incident.
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Police issued arrest warrants for 12 security guards and several others back in June.
The indictment charged the attackers of a group of protesters who had gathered peacefully in front of the Turkish ambassador's home following Erdogan's meeting with President Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports.
American officials strongly criticised Turkey's government and Erdogan's security forces for the violence; the State Department summoned Turkey's U.S. ambassador to complain. At least other five defendants face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon. The rest of the defendants are still at large.
Why would I bring my guards with me to the United States, if not to protect me?" he said in a speech in Ankara, adding that he will fight the charges "politically and judicially. "Our reaction to the topic has also been conveyed to the US ambassador to Ankara", the Turkish foreign ministry statement said.
Guards for Erdogan attacked protesters near the embassy in a brawl that was caught on video. "The members and associates of the conspiracy used threats and physical violence-intensely kicking at protesters-to dispel the anti-Erdoğan protesters, attack the anti-Erdoğan protesters, and blatantly ignore American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".