Two Turkish-Americans have been arrested for their alleged role in assaulting protesters outside the Turkish Embassy following a visit to the White House by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month in Washington.
The Metropolitan Police Department said in a brief statement that Sinan Narin was arrested in Virginia on an aggravated assault charge and Eyup Yildirim was arrested in New Jersey on charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault. The department released no further details about the men.
It was not clear if the men were supporters of Erdogan or the protesters.
The brawl took place outside the residence of Turkey’s ambassador to Washington shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump met with Erdogan at the White House.
Video of the protest shot by VOA’s Turkish service shows security guards and some Erdogan supporters attacking a small group of protesters. Men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled up on a sidewalk. Another wrenched a woman’s neck and threw her to the ground. A man with a bullhorn was repeatedly kicked in the face.
After police officers struggled to protect the protesters and ordered the men in suits to retreat, several of the men dodged the officers and ran into the park to continue the attacks. In all, nine people were hurt.
The fracas strained relations between the United States and Turkey, with Washington calling the conduct of Turkish guards “deeply disturbing.” Eleven people were hurt in what Washington’s police chief called a “brutal attack” on peaceful protesters.
The Turkish Embassy claimed without evidence that Erdogan’s bodyguards were acting in “self-defense” during the incident, and that the protesters were affiliated with the PKK.
The NATO allies have publicly clashed over a U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurdish rebels fighting Islamic State militants in Syria. Turkey considers the fighters to be an extension of the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.